Haas looking for a change of altitude in Mexico

The Haas F1 Team left its home soil disappointed by its performance and heads south of the border in quest of an elevated result in the elevation of Mexico City.

With only three races remaining, the mid-field battle is as tight as it’s been all year, and every point is valuable for Haas which is currently eighth in the Constructors’ standings, just five points behind Renault and 20 points ahead of McLaren.

But Mexico’s Hermanos Rodriguez circuit offers teams some difficult challenges linked to its altitude but also to its specific configuration which forces a compromise between straight-line speed and downforce.

Haas boss Guenther Steiner confirms the altitude factor plays a big role in performance in Mexico.

“It’s very different to anything else,” he says.

“You need your highest downforce level – whatever you can you put on there because of the air being so thin. Cooling – you never have enough up at that altitude. It is different, but we know we have to adapt to it.”

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Historically, grip has also been in short supply at the Mexican track, and Steiner isn’t expecting anything different next weekend.

“You always try to get as much downforce as possible. It hasn’t been a favorable circuit for us. We’re not afraid of it, but it will be a challenge.”

Finding grip however requires a proper exploitation of the tyres, a tricky exercise in qualifying which includes many variables, as Steiner explains.

“It is a moving target. You never know, there are so many factors coming in from the track that affect how your tyres work. We’re surprised every weekend what it does,” he says.

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“What you try to do is get the tyre to the temperature you want to have it for when you cross the start-finish line.

“At the beginning of the lap, at turn one, you’re already in the temperature window, then you’re not running too hot when you come out of the last turn.

“Every track is different and every day is different because of the temperature. It’s a very difficult task, and it’s very difficult to do it mathematically. It also involves a lot of driver feeling – what is best to do.

“It’s a lot of planning and there’s a lot of management involved in it.”

Regardless of the challenges which lay ahead, Steiner is too smart to make any predictions about the outcome of the mid-field battle.

“It’s up and down, and it’s unpredictable what is happening. Who would’ve thought that’d we’d finish eighth and ninth in Japan?

“Nobody would’ve given us that credit to work to those positions on merit. Anything can happen in this midfield, and I hope we’re able to make the best out of it.”

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