FIA preview the Brazilian GP at Interlagos
23 November, 2011
Nov.23 (FIA) The final race of the 19-round 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship takes competitors to Sao Paolo’s Interlagos circuit for the Brazilian GP.
Although both world titles have been decided, in favour of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing, there remains a close fight for second place in the drivers’ championship: Jenson Button (255), Fernando Alonso (245) and Mark Webber (233) could all finish as runner-up to Vettel, who has dominated this season, taking 11 wins and scoring 374 points so far.
A favourite with drivers, owing to the challenging nature of its contours and gradient, Interlagos has a reputation for being a circuit that promotes good racing, with the run from the high-speed Turn 15 onto the main straight and into the Turn 1-2 sequence providing an excellent overtaking opportunity.
The race has on many occasions been affected by dramatic weather changes – from tropical heat and humidity to monsoon-like rainstorms.
From race director Charlie Whiting:
“What a great circuit and great atmosphere – the fans here are wild and it’s always a sell-out, so the atmosphere is always pretty special. It’s a pleasure to work here, partly because the circuit is so good and we nearly always get an entertaining race, but also because the staff are really professional.
There will be one DRS zone on the back straight. We think this will be enough, as the main straight usually gives a good enough opportunity to overtake anyway, so we don’t want to make it too easy. There are a couple of minor changes to the circuit but next year there could be something much bigger: we’re hoping to build a new pit entry and a larger run-off around the last corner, but this is a big job as it will require removing a couple of permanent grandstands. We’ve had assurances from the city of Sao Paulo that they’ll support this project.”
Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo
Length of lap: 4.309km
Lap time record: 1:11.473 (Juan-Pablo Montoya, Williams, 2004)
Start line/finish line offset: 0.030km
Total number of race laps: 71
Total race distance: 305.909km
Pitlane speed limits: 60km/h during practice and 100km/h during race
Changes to circuit since 2010:
No significant changes
Brazilian GP – Fast Facts
• Pirelli’s tyre compounds this weekend are prime: medium (white) and option: soft (yellow). The soft compound is all new and described as “more extreme”, having been run extensively at last week’s Young Driver test in Abu Dhabi. Teams will also be allocated two extra sets of experimental hard tyre compounds to run in free practice.
• This is the 39th edition of the Brazilian Grand Prix, which joined the F1 calendar in 1973 – a race famously won by Brazilian reigning world champion Emerson Fittipaldi. The race has been held 28 times at Interlagos, and 10 at the Jacarepagua circuit in Rio de Janeiro (1978, 1981-89).
• Autodromo Carlos Pace is a shortened version of the original 8 km Interlagos circuit that hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix from 1973 to 1977 and in 1979-80, with minor modifications. After a ten-year gap during which the Brazilian Grand Prix was held at Rio’s Jacarepagua circuit, (see above) the ‘new’ Interlagos was back on the F1 calendar for 1990. It has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix every year since.
• Interlagos is one of five Formula One tracks to run anti-clockwise, the others being: Turkey’s Istanbul Park; Singapore’s Marina Bay, the Korea International Circuit and Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.
• The first three Brazilian Grands Prix were won by Brazilians: Emerson Fittipaldi for Lotus, then McLaren in 1973 and 1974; followed by the late Carlos Pace in 1975, driving for Brabham. Other Brazilians to have won their home race include Nelson Piquet (1983, Brabham; 1986, Williams); Ayrton Senna (1991 and 1993, both McLaren) and Felipe Massa (2006 and 2008, both Ferrari). Argentine Carlos Reutemann won three times (1977-78 and 1981) and Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya won twice (2004-5).
• Williams’ most recent Formula One win (of 113) was at the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, with Juan Pablo Montoya driving a BMW-powered FW26. The team’s most recent pole position (of 126) was also at this circuit, last year, with Nico Hülkenberg driving a Cosworth-powered FW32.
• Sebastian Vettel this weekend has an opportunity to set an all-time record for the most pole positions by a driver in a single season. He currently jointly holds the record, 14, with Nigel Mansell, who first set the mark in the 16-race 1992 season.
• The Jordan Grand Prix team scored its last, of four, Formula One victories at the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix – coincidentally Jordan’s 200th race. Giancarlo Fisichella was declared winner – his first F1 victory – but only after the originally declared result, which had given the victory to McLaren’s Kimi Räikkönen, was judged invalid in an FIA hearing.
• Sao Paolo, with a population of more than 11 million, is the largest city in Brazil and the Southern Hemisphere.
Brazilian GP Race Stewards Biographies
The FIA driver steward at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix will be Austrian Alex Wurz, twice winner of the Le Mans 24-Hour race: in 1996, becoming the event’s youngest-ever winner and in 2009.
Wurz, who is still an active sportcar driver and who will compete in the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championhsip next year, with Toyota, enjoyed a 12-year Formula One career, racing and testing for Benetton, McLaren, Williams, Honda and Brawn. He scored three F1 podium finishes: the 1997 British GP; the 2005 San Marino GP and the 2007 Canadian GP.
As well as racing, Wurz runs the driver-training firm – Test and Training International – launched by his father, multiple rallycross champion Franz Wurz. Wurz and TTI work closely with the FIA Institute on the Institute’s Young Driver Academy programme.
Swede Lars Österlind, 66, is a highly experienced FIA steward, who has officiated at more than 100 grands prix and 90 World Championship rallies. A social sciences graduate and lifelong motor sport enthusiast, Österlind was President of the Swedish Rally Commission from 1978-1982, then President of the Swedish Automobile Sport Federation from 1982-1996. He became honorary president in 1996 and has been a member of the FIA World Council since 1984. Outside motor sport Österlind has specialised in management, working as a management consultant and pursuing his own business interests. He is also experienced in local government at city council level.
Roger Peart is a civil engineer by training and designed the Gilles Villeneuve circuit, Canada’s F1 venue since 1978 (excepting 1987 and 2009). He first became involved in motor sport as a racing mechanic while still at school in the UK from 1949-1953 and by 1960 he had become a competitor. Until 1963 he drove in the Canadian National Rally Championship, before switching to racing from 1964 to 1976. In 1967 Peart became involved in the organisation of Canadian motor sport and was instrumental in getting the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve onto the F1 calendar. Since 1991 Peart has been President of ASN Canada FIA and, since 1999, President of the FIA Circuits Commission. He has been a steward at more than 40 grands prix.