06 Nov 2021
2021 MEXICO CITY GRAND PRIX PRACTICE
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: We’ve had some issues today that hampered the programme, especially in FP2. We found an issue with George’s gearbox at the end of FP1 and so we opted to fit his race box for FP2. Unfortunately, this suffered with a different failure during the first run of FP2. We reduced the running on Nicholas’s car whilst we understood the problem and confirmed that he wouldn’t suffer the same issue. George will now take a new gearbox, which will leave him with a grid penalty on Sunday. This is frustrating, but at least it happened today rather than during the race.
The car is behaving as we expected, with the low downforce dominating and making the tyre management difficult. However, we have completed some useful testing today despite the shortened running and we are confident that we can get the most out of the car over the next couple of days.
Obviously, George has some catching up to do having lost FP2, but with the car working reasonably well and his previous knowledge of this track, he will do this quickly tomorrow.
George Russell: Unusually, we encountered several gearbox issues today and have consequently had to take a new gearbox which will give us a grid penalty. It’s not ideal but it’s Sunday where the points are awarded. FP1 on the other hand was a strong session for us. The car was feeling good, I found a decent rhythm and we showed some strong race pace. That race pace is going to be critical as the high altitude makes it really difficult for the cooling, for the brakes and for the power unit. If we’re on top of that then I think we can be on the front foot for the race.
Nicholas Latifi: Today was tricky. With the gearbox issue on the other side of the garage we needed to understand the problem and make sure that didn’t happen to me so unfortunately, we didn’t get through our full programme. We still have FP3 to dial in the car though so it’s not all lost. We learned what we needed to from the high fuel and, as we’ve seen in previous years, getting the cooling levels correct through the power unit and the brakes is so important here. Despite the issues, I think we still got what we needed to get today.