2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Preview
Autódromo José Carlos Pace snapshot
“Interlagos is an exciting track to drive because it’s undulating and has some challenging corners. It’s also quite a short lap, which means traffic can be a problem, but that adds to the drama and excitement of the event; I always look forward to this race.”
“Interlagos holds great memories for me because it was there, in 2009, that I clinched my world championship. I’ll never forget that day, or the reception that I got from the crowd. Brazilians love F1 and there’s always a great atmosphere; it’s a special race for all the drivers.”
Table of contents
- Circuit lowdown
- It's all about: THE RACE
- It's all about: THE TRACK
- It's all about: THE CAR
- Technical words of wisdom
- McLaren at the Brazilian Grand Prix
- Our most memorable Brazilian Grand Prix:
- #14 Fernando Alonso
- #22 Jenson Button
- Eric Boullier - Racing director, McLaren-Honda
- Yasuhisa Arai - Chief Officer of Motorsport, Honda R&D Co Ltd
The Autódromo José Carlos Pace is one of the oldest and best-loved tracks on the Formula 1 calendar. It was built in 1938 on marshland deemed unsuitable for housing, and it first welcomed the World Championship in 1973.
The track is named after Brazilian F1 driver Carlos Pace, who won his home grand prix in 1975, but it’s better known as Interlagos after the suburb of São Paulo in which it’s located. It’s an undulating anti-clockwise layout and it’s been the permanent home of the Brazilian Grand Prix since 1990.
The circuit has several characteristics that set it apart from other F1 circuits, most notably its bumps and its altitude. The track was resurfaced prior to last year’s race, making it smoother, but the unstable marshland on which it’s built creates fresh bumps on an annual basis, particularly in Sector Two.
Altitude is another factor that the teams have to consider. The track is situated 800m (2,625 feet) above sea level and the thinner air has a bearing on all areas of car performance, particularly aerodynamics and cooling. Power unit losses are minimal, due to the turbo and the ERS.
As was the case last year, Pirelli will take their Soft (Option) and Medium (Prime) tyre compounds to the race. It’s the ninth time that this combination has been used this season and, should the weather conditions prove favourable, fast lap times are expected.
McLaren has an enviable record at the Brazilian Grand Prix, having won the race 12 times and taken 11 pole positions. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have good memories of the track, having clinched all of their world titles there (in 2005, ’06 and ’09 respectively).
It’s all about: THE RACE
|Start time||1400 (local) / 1600 (GMT)|
|Race distance||71 laps (full world championship points awarded after 75 per cent distance/53 laps)|
|2014 winner||Nico Rosberg 71 laps in 1:30m02.555|
|2014 pole position||Nico Rosberg 1m10.023 221.532km/h (137.654mph)|
|2014 fastest lap||Lewis Hamilton lap 62 1m13.555 210.895km/h (131.044mph)|
|Chances of a Safety Car||Statistically, there’s a 70 per cent chance of the Safety Car appearing and it’s something the engineers factor into their race strategies|
|Don’t put the kettle on…||on laps 7, 26 and 50. The top six finishers completed the race on three-stop strategies last year and with the same tyre compounds being used this season, it’s fair to assume two or three stops once again|
|Weather forecast||Warm and wet. There’s been a lot of rain in recent weeks in São Paulo and the weather conditions look similarly unpredictable over the race weekend|
It’s all about: THE TRACK
|Circuit length||4.309km (2.678 miles)|
|Run to Turn One||190m (0.118 miles)|
|Longest straight||650m (0.404 miles), on the approach to Turn One|
|Top speed||323km/h (201mph) on the approach to Turn One|
|DRS zones||Two – on the approach to Turn One and again on the approach to Turn Four|
|Key corner||Turn 12, a third-gear left-hander situated at one of the lowest points on the track. It’s vital to get a good exit because the cars are then flat-out all the way up the hill to Turn One|
|Pitlane length||380 metres (0.191 miles)|
|Major changes for 2015||A few minor kerb alterations, but no major changes|
It’s all about: THE CAR
|Fuel consumption||1.5kg per lap, which is on the low side|
|Full throttle||60 per cent|
|Brake wear||Medium. There are only six braking events around the lap, of which only two are heavy|
|Gear changes||42 per lap/2982 per race|
|Did you know?||For five consecutive years, from 2005 to 2009 inclusive, the World Championship was decided at the Brazilian Grand Prix.|
Technical words of wisdom
Jonathan Neale, chief operating officer and acting CEO
“Interlagos is one of the most historic and famous circuits on the calendar; it’s a race that’s enjoyed by drivers and team personnel alike.
“The circuit is situated in a bowl, so there’s quite a lot of angle and camber change. It’s an interesting technical challenge because set-up is a difficult compromise between straight-line speed and slow-corner grip.
“The race is notorious for changeable weather conditions at the time of year in which we go racing, and despite the best efforts of the organisers and regular re-surfacing work, the moment you get rain you get rivers across the circuit and it becomes very difficult to drive. But it’s an always an exciting race and there’s a passionate crowd, which makes it great fun for the drivers. It’s a real test of car and driver.”
McLaren at the Brazilian Grand Prix
|Wins||12 (1974, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2012)|
|Poles||11 (1974, 1976, 1977, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2012)|
|Fastest laps||9 (1973, 1977, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2012)|
Our most memorable Brazilian Grand Prix: 1991
Ayrton Senna led from pole position, much to the delight of his adoring fans. He quickly built up a lead of 3.0s over second-placed Nigel Mansell, but the tables turned quickly when Mansell closed the gap to less than a second.
Ayrton’s plight was helped when Mansell had a disastrous pitstop on lap 26, losing him 14.0s. When Ayrton emerged from his stop, Mansell was 7.0s behind and closing quickly. But more misfortune befell Mansell, this time in the form of a puncture, and his race eventually ended in retirement.
However, all was not well with Ayrton’s car. The gearbox on his MP4-6 began to fail with 10 laps remaining and he was forced to drive the last few laps stuck in sixth gear, with the Williams of Riccardo Patrese bearing down on him. When rain began to fall the challenge became even greater, but Ayrton still won by 2.9s. Gerhard Berger, in the second McLaren, finished third.
#14 Fernando Alonso
“The last couple of races have been frustrating on my side of the garage, as we’ve had some bad luck with reliability issues. It’s something we’re always working hard on and we’ll be looking especially closely at in the lead up to the Brazilian Grand Prix, so we can make sure we get the most track time possible over the course of the weekend.
“We knew Mexico would be tough, and many of Interlagos’ characteristics are similar, with its steep sections and long straights. However, the circuit is incredible to drive and always a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to the weekend. We are still seeing progress in our pace and small improvements in every area race by race, so we know it’s important to keep our heads down and keep pushing towards the end of the season. Every race counts and the more we can learn and gather data at every track, the more information we will have at our disposal over the winter and for the development of our package.
“After the incredible fan support we received in Mexico, I know we’ll receive another warm welcome in Brazil. The atmosphere is always fantastic and the Brazilian fans are just as passionate. It’s a very special place and we always see unpredictable racing there, so let’s hope we can have some fun this weekend.”
|Age||34 (July 29 1981)|
|Best result in Brazil||2nd (2006, 2008, 2012)|
#22 Jenson Button
“Interlagos has got to be up there with the all-time great circuits in Formula 1. There’s so much history there, so many legends have raced on that circuit, and the fans are always so enthusiastic that you can’t help but love going back there each year.
“For me personally, the track is very special. It’s a tough circuit on the cars as it’s so bumpy, but really fun to drive with its off-camber sections and technical mix of corners. Although we found it tough in Mexico – especially with the altitude – our pace in the corners was positive, so I’m looking forward to seeing how our car performs in those areas in Brazil.
“The weather is usually unpredictable too, which has made for some chaotic races in the past. It’s great for the fans and always produces some really interesting results, so hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to take advantage if anything happens. Unlike the last couple of races, I hope we can get some solid dry running done initially so that we can really focus on set-up and reliability, and get as much time on track as possible from Friday onwards – then we’ll see what we can do from there.”
|Age||35 (January 19 1980)|
|Best result in Brazil||1st (2012)|
Eric Boullier - Racing director, McLaren-Honda
“After the drama of Austin and spectacle of Mexico, it’s great to move to another hugely popular circuit in the Americas, and a track that holds great memories for the McLaren-Honda team. We’ve enjoyed numerous nail-biting finishes, stunning victories and tense championship battles there, and Interlagos is a venue universally loved by the whole Formula 1 community.
“Over its incredible 78-year history, its charm is as strong as ever, and the fans are just as animated. Interlagos has an incredible heritage and it’s great to see its legacy continue. It’s a fantastic driver’s track with lots of uniquely challenging features that the drivers love, and the fans love to watch. Although no longer the season finale, there’s always a great sense of anticipation before every Brazilian Grand Prix, and this year is no different.
“For McLaren-Honda, after a challenging couple of races, we are looking forward to arriving at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace and pushing hard with our development for the next two grands prix. Although the end of the season is in sight, we are still working flat-out to bring new parts to the car and maximise our learning and development until the last possible moment. We are focussing on both reliability and performance, and hope for a more positive weekend at this legendary circuit.”
Yasuhisa Arai - Chief Officer of Motorsport, Honda R&D Co Ltd
“Following on from the Mexican Grand Prix, Brazil will be another atmospheric race weekend for fans of Formula 1.
“Interlagos is a mixture of fast flowing corners, with a technical slow section and multiple undulating turns. The tightness of the layout will hopefully make for an exciting race, with close competition and overtaking.
“The car and the power unit will both be busy there, changing direction and speed with every turn, which makes throttle response and car balance important.
“We predict that the altitude of the circuit, albeit not as high as Mexico City, will slightly affect the performance of the car, so we will fine-tune the driveability and deployment of the power unit accordingly."