Though the season started strongly with a double-points finish in Hong Kong (HGK), fortunes have been less positive for the Andretti Formula E team in rounds two and three, with no points scored in Marrakesh (MAR) and Buenos Aires (ARG). The target for Mexico City is obvious: points. Mexico’s race takes place at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, part baseball stadium, and part racetrack. The circuit weaves its way through the huge grandstands, creating an unmistakeable atmosphere. The track is similar to, though not the same as, the layout used for the Mexican Grand Prix. It is the highest track on the calendar, with an elevation of more than 2,500 meters.
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The MS Amlin Andretti team, as well as Félix da Costa and Frijns, will need to be wily with strategy and race craft to take the top positions this time round. An eventful race is guaranteed in Formula E, and the key to strong results is often avoiding the drama and ensuring a clean ePrix.
MS Amlin Andretti races the ATEC-002 in Season 3, with Félix da Costa and Frijns in its two entries – Frijns in number 27 and Felix da Costa in number 28. BMW will provide expertise and support to the American team as it runs its own powertrain for the first time in Season 3, having run the standard Formula E technology in the first two seasons.
Fans can vote to give their favorite driver a ‘FanBoost’ – an extra energy allocation, available in the second half of the race – online. The three drivers with the most votes receive an extra 100KJ of energy, which can boost power by up to 30KW. There are two methods: voting on fanboost.fiaformulae.com, or by using the hashtag #FanBoost, plus #AntonioFelixdaCosta or #RobinFrijns, on Twitter or Instagram.
António Félix da Costa, MS Amlin Andretti: “I’m looking forward to going back to Mexico City, it’s a cool place and to race in the stadium is a really great experience – there’s nothing else like it. The crowd will be big, and they make a lot of noise, it’s like a football stadium! It’s been a big break since the last race. Buenos Aires was disappointing, so it was good to get away and be able to react to that as a team – I think we’re reacting well. All the homework we’ve done ahead of the Mexico race has been very useful. As a racetrack, I think it can suit our package pretty well. It’s a difficult track, with lots of off balance braking zones. The altitude also makes it the toughest track of the season, the air is really thin. We need to minimise mistakes. That way we can look for some points.”
Robin Frijns, MS Amlin Andretti: “Last year in Mexico City we started P14 and were able to work our way up to finish P5. It’s a good track that creates some good battles. It’s always nice racing there and seeing so many fans watching the race. When you enter the stadium you can see and hear all of the fans that came out to see the race. We got a lot of good data from the Buenos Aires weekend and we have been working hard the past few weeks to improve the car. Our aim is for both of our cars to finish in the points and continue on the foundation we started building in Hong Kong.”
Mexico City has developed over nearly 1,000 years, originally established as Tenochtitlan by the Aztecs, and maintaining several examples of its historic architecture to this day. Today, it is a huge, bustling metropolis: both Mexico’s capital and its largest city. With its huge size has come heavy pollution and traffic, despite the fact that half the eight million population use the city’s metro every day instead of driving. The government subsidise fares on the service, in an attempt to improve air quality and congestion – Formula E’s all-electric vision will do no harm to promotion of the former aim.
Mexico’s ePrix utilizes the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, named after famous racing brothers Pedro and Ricardo. The circuit is a permanent fixture, the only full-time circuit on the calendar. The circuit map features two long hairpins, forming an oval shape, with several turns inside the main figure. Unlike other FIA world championships to visit the venue, Formula E races around the famous, daunting Peraltada hairpin. The circuit also encompasses a baseball stadium, formerly home to 16-time Mexican champions Diablos Rojos del Mexico, providing an exciting atmosphere for drivers and spectators alike, with huge crowds densely packed around several tight turns on the infield. It is also the highest on the calendar – 2,500m above sea level.