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How F1 teams have adapted their cars for Mexico's cooling headache

The cooling demands of the high altitude Mexico Grand Prix have dominated the list of new updates Formula 1 teams have shipped to Mexico City.

Red Bull Racing RB19 detail

Red Bull Racing RB19 detail

Giorgio Piola

Located at 2,200 metres, the Mexican capital's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is notorious for its huge cooling demands to offset the reduced air density.

While the temperatures in Mexico hover around 25C, much cooler than the past couple of races, the roughly 20% reduction of air density means there is less air to cool the engine, brakes and other key items on the cars.

It means that almost every team has introduced new parts that are exclusively designed to offer the most extreme cooling solutions on the calendar, with no team bringing pure performance-related parts to Mexico.

Running down the list, Red Bull has enlarged its forward facing cooling louvres on the sidepod's right-hand side.

Ferrari has brought an engine cover with bigger louvres as well, but intriguingly it has opted to keep it back for now.

The team has decided it has covered its cooling needs with its existing engine cover as it had anticipated the weekend to be hotter than it is now expected to be. Should its current engine cover not be sufficient after all, it could yet install the new example with bigger cooling slots.

Charles Leclerc said on Thursday that Ferrari has "a very different package" which he expected "should be better than last year", when the Maranello cars struggled to finish fifth and sixth.

"There will definitely be [temperature] management in the race whenever you are in traffic," he said, "so the race is going to be tricky. But I feel we are much better prepared compared to last year."

Ferrari SF-23 detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari SF-23 detail

Alpine has deployed a solution with bigger cooking louvres which it had already tried out in free practice at Qatar as a test item for this weekend. Further downstream, it has also expanded its coke panel exit at the rear of the car.

Alpine A523 detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

Alpine A523 detail

McLaren too changed its engine cover geometry to drive more air through the radiators, while also introducing a bigger front brake duct scoop to keep brake temperatures under control.

McLaren MCL60 detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

McLaren MCL60 detail

AlphaTauri and Haas have followed suit with a similar set of updates to McLaren, with Haas featuring striking, extremely large cooling louvres on the sidepod.

Haas VF-23 detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

Haas VF-23 detail

Williams has brought a redesigned engine cover that features a bigger centreline exit, similar to Alpine. It has also brought new louvres as a more extreme option, should they be required.

Alfa Romeo stuck to a new rear brake duct, while Mercedes and Aston Martin did not introduce any previously unused parts.

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