Brazil Grand Prix Formula One preview
Red Bull Racing
TEAM NOTICE BOARD
Sebastian Vettel: “The 4.3km circuit will this year stage the World Championship final. That will be exciting because at Interlagos you have a combination of passionate fans, driving anti-clockwise, bad bumps and extreme altitude. The thin air makes it tough for the engine, because São Paulo is located 1000m above sea level, so it costs us about 40hp. The long left turns put an extreme burden on our neck muscles, because of the centrifugal forces that are created from driving anti-clockwise. So I’m doing special workouts for São Paulo, to build up my neck muscles and get them used to it.”
Mark Webber: “Brazil is a great way to finish the year. It’s one of my most favourite weekends because of the history with the drivers they’ve had; Senna, Piquet and Fittipaldi, these guys did a huge amount for the sport. Interlagos is a legendary circuit, it’s got a great atmosphere, there’s always been a bit of drama and also there is always a bit of weather floating around. It’s a Grand Prix that I have done well at in the past. It would be good to have a smooth weekend with no issues, a clean start and the car running smoothly for the whole weekend, then I’m sure we can finish the season very strongly.”
RED BULL RACING AIMS FOR THE SKY IN BRAZIL
For the third year in a row, Red Bull Racing is pleased to announce that SKY, the largest high-definition satellite TV provider in Latin America, will join the team as a Race Partner for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The partnership has seen great success in the previous two years, with the team achieving a 1-2 finish at both the 2010 and 2011 races. Sebastian Vettel won in 2010, followed by Mark Webber in 2011.
As a result of the agreement, SKY logos will feature on the bargeboards of the RB8 during the Grand Prix weekend, as well as on the drivers’ overalls and the race shirts of Team Principal, Christian Horner.
The TV company has a strong history of partnerships with Red Bull in Brazil. In 2009, SKY became a main partner of the Red Bull Racing Brazilian Stock Car team, which to date has claimed two national championships (‘09 and ‘11) with driver Carlos “Cacá” Bueno. It was a major partner of the 2011 Red Bull X-Fighters Brasilia freestyle motocross event and this year has partnered several events, including Red Bull King of the Rock, Red Bull Flugtag, Red Bull Latitude Zero and Red Bull Kart Fight.
Luiz Eduardo Baptista da Rocha, SKY’s Brazil CEO, said: “We are very excited with this partnership. For the third year in a row we extended our deal with Red Bull, which started in 2009 with the Red Bull Racing Stock Car Team and then progressed to the Formula One Team for the Brazilian Grand Prix. I hope that together we can achieve a great result in this race, as we have achieved in Stock Car season”.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2012 Brazilian Grand Prix preview
Interlagos facts & stats
Brazil hasn’t had a world champion since Ayrton Senna won his third world title for McLaren in 1991, but the country’s passion for Formula 1 continues unabated. The Brazilian Grand Prix remains one of the highlights of the F1 season and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Interlagos one of its gems.
The 2.6-mile track is one of the oldest circuits in F1, having hosted its first world championship grand prix in 1973. It’s been altered and made safer since that first race, but it retains much of its original character. It’s bumpy, undulating and narrow, and it’s one of five anti-clockwise circuits on the 2012 calendar
The track is located 875 metres above sea level, making it the highest venue on the F1 calendar. The altitude affects the performance of the cars by reducing the power from the engines by about 7 percent. That places an even greater emphasis on handling and aerodynamic-efficiency, both of which are strengths of the MP4-27.
Neither Lewis nor Jenson has won the Brazilian Grand Prix, but both men clinched their world titles at Interlagos in 2008 and ’09 respectively. After Lewis’s emphatic victory in the United States last weekend, the team goes to the season finale hoping to end 2012 on a high.
- Race distance 71 laps (190.067 miles/305.909km)
- Start time 14:00 (local)/16:00 GMT
- Circuit length 2.677 miles/4.309km
- 2011 winner Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) 71 laps in 1hr32m17.464s (198.876km/h)
- 2011 pole Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) 1m38.481s (215.695km/h)
- Lap record Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams FW26) 1m11.473s (217.038km/h)
McLaren at the Brazilian Grand Prix
- Wins 11 (1974, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993,1998, 1999, 2001, 2005)
- Poles 10 (1974, 1976, 1977, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2000)
- Fastest Laps 8 (1973, 1977, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1998, 2005, 2010)
Car 3: Jenson Button
- Age 32 (January 19 1980)
- GPs 227
- Wins 14
- Poles 8
- FLs 8
- 2012 points 163 (6th)
- Brazil record 2011 Q3 R3; 2010 Q11 R5; 2009 Q14 R5; 2008 Q17 R13; 2007 Q16 R-; 2006 Q14 R3; 2005 Q4 R7; 2004 Q5 R-; 2003 Q11 R-; 2002 Q7 R4; 2001 Q20 R10; 2000 Q9 R6
“I’ve had some great experiences racing in Brazil – I won the world championship here in 2009, of course, but I can also remember having strong races here, especially in 2006 when I finished on the podium.
“I think we showed in Austin that we have an incredibly quick car, particularly in race-trim, and I’d love to have a clean weekend, a trouble-free qualifying and then have a good run at scoring some strong points on Sunday. Traditionally, it’s not been a circuit where we’ve been at our strongest, but I think this year’s car has often been strong at tracks where we wouldn’t normally have been up there, so I think we have a chance to go for the win.
“Of course, Brazil will be the backdrop for the championship showdown – and it’s a great track upon which to end the season on a high. I’m not putting my money on anybody, but I hope we have a fantastic contest and may the best man win.”
Car 4: Lewis Hamilton
- Age 27 (January 7 1985)
- GPs 109
- Wins 21
- Poles 25
- FLs 11
- 2012 points 190 (4th)
- Brazil record 2011 Q4 R-; 2010 Q4 R4; 2009 Q17 R3; 2008 Q4 R5; 2007 Q2 R7
“Brazil has been the scene of some epic races for me during my time at Vodafone McLaren Merecedes and, for many reasons, this weekend will be a very big race for me.
“I nearly won the title here in 2007, clinched it on the final turn in ’08 and drove like crazy to finish on the podium in ’09. But I’ve never won: and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do this time around.
“As my final race behind the wheel of a McLaren, I vow to the whole team that I’ll give it my all on every single lap. My win in Austin last week was one of the races of my life, and I’d love to take victory in Brazil this weekend to give the team the perfect farewell present.
“Finally, a word on the championship: it’s a very finely poised battle, and neither Sebastian nor Fernando can afford to relax for a moment. They are both fantastic drivers, and both have driven superbly all season. Now, we’ll see who takes the final honours – I hope it’s an epic contest.”
Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix will bring the curtain down on another fascinating and exciting world championship. Additionally, it’ll be Lewis’s final race for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes – the end of a long, and successful, chapter in the team’s history.
“I think our win in Austin last weekend has buoyed the team after a couple of disappointing races, and has shown that, in terms of raw speed, the MP4-27 wants for nothing. That’s an encouraging message to be sending home to our engineers and designers for the winter, and also a positive for our drivers, who know that they’ll likely be equipped with race-winning machinery for the Interlagos weekend.
“The Formula 1 world championship couldn’t ask for a more epic backdrop to the title decider than the sweeps and valleys of Interlagos. There’s little to choose between the performances of Sebastian and Fernando this season, and all I hope for is a fair and true contest on Sunday.”
McLaren has won more races in Brazil than any other Formula 1 constructor. Here’s how the team has defined 11 days in the history of the race.
January 27 1974, Interlagos
Emerson Fittipaldi starts from pole position, but he drops to third when Carlos Reutemann and Ronnie Peterson jump ahead at the start. Emmo grabs P2 on lap four when Reutemann makes a mistake and he takes the lead by out-foxing Peterson when they’re lapping Arturo Merzario. Emmo cruises to victory, winning his second start for McLaren by 13s.
March 25 1984, Jacarepagua
Alain Prost wins on his debut for McLaren, but it isn’t an easy victory. He qualifies fourth and is slow away from the grid. He battles through the order to lie second to team-mate Niki Lauda on lap 24 and when Lauda retires with an electrical problem he takes the lead. Derek Warwick passes him briefly during the pitstops, but Alain re-takes the lead when Warwick crashes out. Job done.
April 07 1985, Jacarepagua
A tenacious drive by Alain sees him win the season-opener from sixth on the grid. His chances are helped when Nigel Mansell crashes at Turn 1, but Prost is mighty all afternoon and fully deserves the win. He takes the lead on lap 19 and is never headed. He backs off towards the end of the race to win by 3s from Michele Alboreto.
April 12 1987, Jacarepagua
After qualifying fifth, Alain takes the lead when Ayrton Senna pits with handling issues. The Frenchman’s two-stop tyre strategy wins him the race because his main rivals are forced to make three stops in the blistering heat. New team-mate Stefan Johansson finishes third, giving McLaren a near perfect start to the 1987 season.
April 03 1988, Jacarepagua
Ayrton qualifies on pole for his McLaren debut, but he starts the race from the pitlane after his MP4/4 jams in first gear on the parade lap. That leaves Alain to romp to an easy victory, coming home 10s ahead of Gerhard Berger. Ayrton charges through the field, but he’s disqualified for using the spare car.
March 24 1991, Interlagos
Ayrton’s first victory in Brazil. He starts from pole position, but he has it far from easy. Nigel Mansell sits on his gearbox until he’s delayed by a puncture and Senna’s gearbox plays up towards the end of the race. He completes the last seven laps stuck in sixth gear! Gerhard Berger completes a good day for McLaren, coming home third in the second MP4/6.
March 28 1993, Interlagos
McLaren’s 100th victory and Ayrton’s second win at home. He qualifies third and runs third early on, until he can hold back the Williams-Renault of Damon Hill no more. Ayrton is later given a 10s stop-go penalty for passing under yellow flags, but he then takes full advantage of a rain shower to lead soon after half distance. A classic giant-killing performance.
March 29 1998, Interlagos
An utterly dominant display by McLaren-Mercedes drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. They qualify 1-2 and finish 1-2, David just 1s behind his team-mate in the second MP4-13. Michael Schumacher finishes third, exactly one minute adrift.
April 11 1999, Interlagos
An all-McLaren-Mercedes front row ends in a dominant victory for Mika. He’s never headed and comes home 5s ahead of Michael Schumacher. Mechanical problems for David in the sister MP4-14 end McLaren’s chances of scoring a 1-2.
April 01 2001, Interlagos
A superb victory for David. He starts fifth on the grid, but battles his way to the front with typical tenacity. When rain starts to fall in the middle of the race he times his pitstop for intermediate tyres to perfection and passes Michael Schumacher for the lead with 23 laps remaining. He comes home 16s clear of the German.
September 25 2005, Interlagos
A fine McLaren-Mercedes 1-2 finish, Juan Pablo Montoya coming home 2.5s clear of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The battle between them is decided during the early laps, when Juan Pablo leads and Kimi gets stuck behind Fernando Alonso. By the time Kimi passes Fernando, Juan Pablo is seven seconds clear and he manages the gap for the remainder of the race.
We’ve reached the last race of the 2012 Formula One season and Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso can still win the Drivers Championship. Whichever way the race goes, you can be sure that Autódromo José Carlos Pace will bring out the best in all the drivers.
On the official Formula One calendar since 1973, the circuit at Interlagos has undergone dramatic changes over the years including the shortening of the track length by almost half. Despite all the alterations, it’s still regarded by fans and drivers alike as one of the most exciting on the calendar.
It’s certainly been the home to some of the most memorable races in recent history and is not only the venue where Fernando Alonso became World Champion in 2005 but it’s also where the World Championship has been decided in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Cara Tredget, Shell Technology Manager for Ferrari, tells us that ‘Brazil is now such an important race for Ferrari with the Driver’s Championship still up for grabs. Shell will be working very closely with Ferrari over the weekend to ensure that the maximum performance can be extracted from the engine to give Fernando Alonso the very best chance of claiming the title.’
Home is where the heart is
Every driver feels additional pressure to perform at their home Grand Prix. None more so than the Brazilians. Maybe it’s the fanaticism of the fans, or the passion of the drivers themselves, but there seems to be something very special about racing here for a Brazilian driver. Perhaps that’s why they’ve won almost a quarter of all Brazilian Grand Prix races.
Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Aryton Senna and our very own Felipe Massa have scored two victories each. While Carlos Pace (for whom the circuit was named) powered his way to his first and only Formula One victory here in 1975.
And let’s not forget that our technical partner Scuderia Ferrari’s record is pretty impressive here too. With 10 victories out of a possible 27 at the Interlagos circuit, they’ve had more victories here than any other team. And scored a further win when the Brazilian Grand Prix was moved to Jacarepaguá.
Show your support
We can’t wait to see the action play out this weekend! You can be the face of support for Scuderia Ferrari in this final race! Take an Instagram photo, tag it #fueltheforza and join the charge! Check out our Twitter and Facebook pages for more details and join in the fun!
All in all, it’s shaping up to be a classic end to another great season.
Good luck to Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso for the last race of the season!
The Shell Motorsport team
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
2012 BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX, INTERLAGOS, 23-25 NOVEMBER, PREVIEW
The final race of the 2012 Formula One season will take place at the historic Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo on Sunday 25 November. The Brazilian Grand Prix will also mark Michael Schumacher’s 308th and final Formula One race.
- Six of the last 10 Brazilian Grands Prix have featured safety car interventions
- In spite of a reputation for unsettled weather, only three of the last ten races have been affected by rain
- Eight of the last ten Brazilian Grands Prix have been won from the front row, including the past four in a row
- 15 of this season’s 19 races to date have been won from the front row, including 10 from pole
Interlagos is the right place to round off my career because so much of the fascination of Formula One is rooted there. I always enjoy the enthusiasm of the fans, and it’s simply a great circuit which has seen many memorable events and always produces spectacular races as the unique layout guarantees plenty of action. For me, it’s also the circuit that brings back my memories of Ayrton. My departure from Formula One will probably be less emotional for me this time than in 2006, when we were still fighting for the championship and everything was much more intense. This time round, I will be able to pay more attention to my farewell and hopefully savour it too. I have had fantastic years in Formula One and a lot of support from fans around the world, and I wish to particularly thank them for that. Of course, I would be happiest if I could say goodbye with a strong race, and I am sure we will be doing everything we can to make it happen.
The final race in Brazil should be a great occasion with the world championship going right to the end of the season. Hopefully it will be another great show for the fans after the eventful race in Austin. I hope that we can also have a positive weekend with a good performance to end our season well. However our priority is still to learn as much as possible for next year, and we will be doing further work towards that.
The weekend will be a special one for our team as Michael is retiring after three years with us. I wish him all the best for the future and it was a great experience for me to race with and against him.
With the last race of the season in Brazil also bringing Michael’s second and final retirement from Formula One, it will be an emotional weekend for everyone in the team. We have both greatly enjoyed and benefitted from working with Michael over the past three years, and I would like to pay tribute to his enduring commitment, passion and team spirit. The results that we all hoped for over that period have not come to fruition, however the progress that our team has made has been significant, and I am confident that we will see the rewards in seasons to come. Having worked with Michael for the majority of the 21 seasons of his career, I feel that he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Formula One driver of all time, and we wish him the very best with his future plans. Looking to the race weekend, our aim will be to continue our testing programme for next season, particularly with the evaluation of the 2013 tyre sets which Pirelli will be providing for the two practice sessions on Friday. After a difficult few races, we would like to end this season with a positive result, and we will work hard to achieve that, before our focus can finally turn fully to next year.
This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix will bring a long, hard Formula One season to a close. It will also mark the final Formula One race of Michael Schumacher’s career and we must thank him both for his committed contribution to the building-up process of our team and also his performances on track. Michael isn’t just the most successful racing driver in the world but also the best known; his ability and character are admired around the globe. We had a competitive car in the first third of this season, as Nico and Michael demonstrated on several occasions. However, we especially needed to catch up in terms of aerodynamics, and to achieve our targets, we made changes in technology and personnel in order to be competitive from the start to the finish of next season. Our goal in Sao Paolo is to bid a respectable farewell to this year. When the 2013 season begins, we want once more to be in the position to score results like those we achieved half a year ago in China and Monaco.
Lotus F1 Team
Kimi Räikkönen: “The greatest day of my career came at Interlagos”
After the highs of Abu Dhabi, sixth position in Austin didn’t quite deliver the wanted digestif for our Iceman. No matter, as he now heads to one of his favourite racing destinations…
Looking back to Austin, what are your thoughts on the race?
It was okay but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with a Force India at the second corner so I lost a few more places. After that the car was okay and I could get past some of the others. The difficult part of the race was when it became cloudy. It got too cold and the tyres stopped working for me. Then it was sunny and they started to work again, so really we were just depending on the tyres and that’s what made all the difference. The circuit was giving good racing and there were a lot of places to overtake; for us the issue was just keeping heat in the tyres.
You had a pretty exciting battle with Jenson Button…
Yes it was good and I enjoy that type of racing. Unfortunately, Jenson caught me when it was cloudy and the tyres weren’t working so well, otherwise I’d have put up a better fight and maybe he wouldn’t have got past even though he was on much newer tyres. That’s how it goes. We struggled with the tyres all weekend; we set good times at the start of the race with the softer tyres, but lost the heat with the hards in the middle of the race and then they picked up again at the end.
What are your memories from Interlagos?
There is no doubt about it; the greatest day of my career came at Interlagos when I won the World Championship in 2007 and that means I have very fond memories of this place. All in all it has been good to me. I have finished here every year since 2003 and been on the podium five times. Actually, in 2003 they gave the winners’ trophy to me but afterwards it turned out I only got P2. I have lived some of the best moments of my life at this circuit, and that’s something nobody can take away. That’s why it is one of my favourite places to go back to.
What’s the main challenge of the track?
To do well in São Paulo you need to have a very solid weekend without problems. Obviously, qualifying on the front row is very important as is a good strong all round package. Also, the engine is important for getting up the hill. I think the key factor is once again downforce, but it’s also important to have a stable car under braking. The final corner is very important to get right, because it leads onto the steep main straight.
How do you rate this track?
I like the old fashioned type of circuits. Interlagos is not in the same group as Spa or Suzuka, but it’s challenging and we run the laps anti clock-wise which is different from normal. The atmosphere from the crowds is always very good and you never know how the race will be as the weather changes quickly and often.
Is it nice to reach race twenty in your comeback season without any DNFs?
I like racing, so it’s good to be on track as much as possible; no-one likes ending a race early. Our record shows that the team can build a reliable car and that I know how to drive it. The last round of the season means that it’s the last chance to enjoy that feeling for some time. That’s what a driver loves; to put a helmet on and go racing. Every time I get in the car I want to fight for victory and this is no different; I want to celebrate a good result with the team in Brazil. That would give the best feeling for the winter and also for next season.
Romain Grosjean: “Interlagos suits my driving style”
It was another fighting performance through the field for our man Romain in Austin. Now he looks to end his season on a high at a track he loves, and one he thinks should suit the E20…
Tell us about Interlagos; is it a track you like?
It’s a fantastic track. It’s very, very nice and it suits my driving style so I’m really looking forward to it. The E20 could be very good there too and should suit to the conditions and circuit. Well, let’s hope so!
Is there a specific part of the track you like the most?
Everything! It’s interesting with its ups and downs. If I had to pick favourite parts of Interlagos, I would say the first and last corners; they are very fast and as a driver I really enjoy them! It’s an old style track so very hard to pick out a single element; I’d say everything is pretty good.
Weather is usually quite a talking point in Brazil with the altitude playing a factor; how will you approach the weekend?
To be honest the weather and altitude is not something we can change and therefore we just have to deal with it. We will plan our strategy well and just aim to be in a position to fit the right tyres at the right time. The good news is that Brazil is closer to our normal time zone so jet lag will be less hard to cure when we go back home!
You had a pretty exciting race in the USA last weekend; including overtaking Kimi and Michael Schumacher at the same time!
Yes, and with eight world titles between them it felt pretty good! Kimi had a go at Michael through turn eleven, then had a bad exit whereas I had a good one. Michael pushed Kimi out to the right meaning I could go for the opening on the left. It was not the hardest overtaking manoeuvre of the year, but I was in the right place at the right time and I’m told it looked pretty good on TV. The race itself was good; the car showed strong pace, although there were a couple of frustrations when I got stuck behind a Force India and then spun on lap seven.
A gearbox change put you back five places on the grid; how frustrating was that?
Strangely enough I was not actually that frustrated; we were working well and managed to recover. It is what it is; we just focused on qualifying and trying to get back to the level we were achieving earlier in the season… and it worked.
Do you think things would have been very different if you hadn’t spun?
It was not exactly what we’d want. It was hard after the spin coming back through the pack, but I knew it was possible to do it. We had to set a good pace but also take care of everything on the car; including the tyres to try not to finish on the rims! It worked and I think we made another good improvement in Austin. We should hopefully take our qualifying and race pace to Brazil.
You didn’t look to be driving as someone who is worried about every possible incident…
I’ve learnt that you can over-compensate by trying to avoid any potential incident. We’re all racers on track so that’s what you do. I don’t want the reputation of being an easy touch and I’m certainly not an open door on track; I’ll fight for every position. I’ve left a memo: I won’t leave the door open, and I’m looking to race.
Eric Boullier: “There’s better to come”
Brazil caps off an intense, emotional and rewarding season for Lotus F1 Team as Team Principal Eric Boullier reflects in the build-up to the season’s final Grand Prix
What would you like to achieve in Brazil to round off the year?
We obviously want to do our best without detracting from the nice championship battle between Fernando [Alonso] and Sebastian [Vettel]. If we can be solidly in the points and ideally fighting for a podium it would be nice. Although there is nothing left to play for in terms of the Constructors’ Championship for us, Kimi is still in a tight battle for P3 in the Drivers’ standings so we’ll be going all out to make sure he keeps that spot. We’ll be aiming to end the season on a high and carry that momentum through the winter break.
How do you think the team performed last time out?
The result in Austin wasn’t as good as Abu Dhabi obviously, but with both cars in the points we were quite satisfied. The first part of the race created some expectations that we could have been in a position to fight for a better result, however the race didn’t play out that way. We had a small problem in Kimi’s pit stop and lost time there. Romain made a mistake behind Nico Hulkenberg and lost the opportunity to do a better job, but he had a very strong race from there and came back well. In the end, Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari were faster and there wasn’t anything we could do. It’s good to gain some points, plus we know we have better performance still to come from the car and the ability to achieve stronger results, so we’re looking forward to Brazil.
Would you judge the sports’ return to the USA as successful?
I think it was a great race and a great event; there were many fans in attendance and a lot of people watching around the world. The circuit also produced some good racing with a lot of overtaking; much of it involving our drivers in fact! I think it’s definitely a huge success for America’s comeback to Formula 1 in a country which is an important market for the sport commercially. We’re already looking forward to returning next year.
Brazil has always been a favourite too?
If you look over the years we have seen some fantastic races at Interlagos and the fans are always very enthusiastic. The circuit is unique and it seems to always deliver something special. We hope to be able to offer something to all the team’s fans to end the season on high.
It’s been a long year; Abu Dhabi was a highlight obviously, but which aspects stand out in your mind?
The win in Abu Dhabi is obviously a highlight. Then I would say the fact that the team has done such a good job with the car and we have been able to race consistently in the points; scoring a lot of podiums and having Kimi back and on top form. He’s done a great job this year and I’m sure he’s going to be a very strong contender again in 2013. If we can keep Kimi as consistent and strong as he has been this season and start the year off as well as we’re ending it I think it will be a whole new story. Romain too has shown that he has the pace to run with the very best in the sport. He still has a few areas which need to be polished, but it’s also been a fantastic return for him.
How much more is there to come from the team?
It’s not only on track that we have been making good progress, behind the scenes too there are many positives which are encouraging and intensifying our efforts. Keep watching us; there’s better to come.
James Allison: “Interlagos is a track that puts a premium on horsepower”
Coming into race twenty of twenty, Lotus F1 Team Technical Director James Allison looks ahead to São Paulo for a final flourish and reflects over a roller-coaster of a season
What are your thoughts on Interlagos?
It’s a track that puts a premium on horsepower. The car has to be dragged up a long hill to the start-finish straight with engines that are already breathless by virtue of the altitude of the Interlagos circuit. We are pleased to have used our more powerful incarnation Coandă exhaust system in anger in Austin as it will serve us well in Brazil.
Although Interlagos is one of the older circuits on the calendar, and we have been there countless times, it throws up many challenges for engineers and drivers alike. It tends to be pretty bumpy, but the severity and the location of the bumps vary from year to year. It’s also a track where it can rain suddenly, literally out of the blue from a seemingly clear sky. The long range forecast is showing a high risk of some serious downpours.
Is there anything we learnt in Austin that has relevance for Brazil?
After our rather dismal experience on the dirty side of the track in Austin, hopefully we’ll be fortunate enough to qualify on the clean side of the grid in Brazil! Our car has been pretty useful since Korea, so with a trouble free Qualifying and Race we could well be contenders for a podium to wrap up the season.
Without the grid penalty, could Romain have potentially achieved more in the last race?
It’s difficult to make those kind of judgements, but I think he would probably have given Fernando [Alonso] a decent run for his money and would certainly have had a stronger result than he eventually achieved.
Overall, how do you evaluate the first race at the Circuit of the Americas?
Although there were elements of the race that were quite positive, overall I have to admit it was a pretty joyless experience. Romain had to start further down the grid than he qualified due to a penalty for a gearbox change, then had an off-track moment early on in the race to compound the task ahead of him. These issues were a real shame as he clearly had good pace in the race and put in a very spirited drive to recover from there. After a tricky start from the dirty side of the track, Kimi did a good job of clawing his way forwards and was on course to jump Fernando [Alonso] in the pit stop battle. Unfortunately we had a bit of home-made drama with our tyre change which put paid to that.
What would you say have been your highlights of the year?
While there have been ups and downs, the overall feeling has been pretty positive for the whole year. I’d say my first highlight was the opening qualifying session in Australia; being able to show everyone that our pace in pre-season was genuine and also finding out for ourselves that this was the case! Another high was the first time the car properly stretched its legs in Bahrain. That was really terrific even though we did not quite make it to the top step of the podium. Finally, of course, I would say that the Abu Dhabi win was tremendous.
Looking at our technical developments through the year with the benefit of hindsight, should the Coandă system have been implemented sooner?
The Coandă exhausts are definitely better than what we were running before, but we weren’t really in a position to run them prior to when we did. We put them on as soon as we were ready to put them on, with a layout that’s worked for us. It would have been nicer if we had arrived at that point sooner, but we didn’t do too badly in any case.
Tech Talk: Brazil
1. REAR WING
Downforce level is a little bit lighter than Texas or Abu Dhabi with the intention of maximising top speed on the long straight.
2. BRAKES There are no particular challenges for the brakes other than ensuring that temperatures remain relatively high at the end of the long straight, which forms the downhill entry into Turn 1. 3. SUSPENSION As we see so often in the current calendar, this is a compromise. The car needs to be good in the high speed turns, but also have good change of direction for the low speed Turns 8 & 9. Good traction is also required for the exits of Turns 8, 9 & 10 and particularly Turn 12 for maximum speed heading up the long hill on to the start-finish straight. 4. TYRES As in Austin. the allocation here is once more the hardest in Pirelli’s arsenal with the hard and medium compounds elected. This is quite conservative and could make for a one stop race depending on degradation levels. With a relative absence of high lateral loadings – discounting the final sector – Interlagos is not expected to be too demanding on the tyre structure. 5. FRONT WING As there are some pretty quick corners, extra front wing is a consideration to balance the car. Turns where this is relevant include 4, 5, 6, 10, 11; all of which are quite challenging corners. 6. ENGINE
Interlagos is all about altitude. The track is 800m above sea level, meaning the RS27-2012 could be producing around 8% less power than at a sea-level race such as Korea. Over the course of the lap the track also undulates significantly, putting the oil and fuel systems under considerable pressure; particularly through the long final left hand corner onto the pit straight.
Track Guide: Interlagos
The first corner presents a good overtaking opportunity. It’s a tricky downhill turn at the end of a long straight making it easy for drivers to out-brake themselves.
TURNS 2 – 3
It’s important to get a good exit from Turn 1; carrying the momentum on through Turn 2 into the high speed Turn 3 and on to the DRS straight.
TURNS 4 – 7
The DRS zone on the back straight presents a good overtaking opportunity heading into Turn 4. Turns 4, 5, 6 & 7 are all quite high speed before heading in to the lower speed Turn 8.
TURNS 8 – 10
Flat kerbs at the low speed Turns 8 & 10 allow drivers a degree of freedom in their apex point.
Turn 12 is crucial for a quick lap, with exit speed defining how fast you can charge up the hill and along the straight.
TURNS 13 – 15
The uphill section means high loads for the engine due to an altitude-induced oxygen deficit.
Roll Out the Red Carpet
The week following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw Enstone play host to a man who is having a significant impact on our future; President of Microsoft Business Solutions Mr. Kirill Tatarinov. We caught up with him to hear his thoughts:
This was your first time here at the factory; what were your thoughts? It’s certainly an impressive facility. Obviously, both Lotus F1 Team and Microsoft Dynamics pride themselves on being at the forefront of technology, but the depth of this link becomes increasingly evident when you see the two combining in an environment such as Enstone. Phase 1 of the MiLo project has just gone live; how much of an achievement is this for the Lotus F1 Team / Microsoft Dynamics partnership? I think what stands out most is the way our two organisations have worked together to implement such a significant business transformation within a very tight time scale. Looking at what has been achieved already, the project seems to have been a highly successful venture thus far and there is still plenty to come. This is due in no small part to a lot of hard work and dedication from both sides, and the manner in which our people have set about this task together is testament to the advantages such a technical partnership can bring. The project still has some way to go; just how much of an impact can this have on the way we do things here at Enstone?
The possibilities are endless. We live in an increasingly demanding business environment where efficiency is essential and flexibility is paramount. This means that – in the fast paced world of Formula 1 – any outfit which is aiming for the top requires an infrastructure that is as adaptable and progressive as the team itself. The next phase of the MiLo project is already underway, and it will be extremely interesting to see where we can go from there. Phase 2 of the MiLo project – incorporating the Manufacturing and Engineering elements of factory operations – is already underway, with company-wide implementation targeted by mid-season in 2013.
Whose Lid is it Anyway?
Fernando Alonso is known for many things [Formula 1 World Championships being the obvious starting point!] but did you know that our former colleague is rather partial to his race helmets? One man with plenty of knowledge of the Spaniard’s quirks is our very own Romain Grosjean, who caught up with his former team-mate on Thursday evening in Austin to exchange skid lids in something of a bizarre re-union… RG: “It’s a nice souvenir for sure; Fernando and me have been friends for a long time and of course we raced together for the team in 2009 so there’s a bit of history there. He collects helmets from all the drivers he competes against – I guess it’s one of his things – and I’m pleased to be a part of that collection!” Next up; Kimi switches race suits with Heikki in a pit lane strip down! Or not…
The Drivers’ A-Z…
At his first F1 race at Melbourne in 2001, Kimi surprised all by being cool enough to have a nap half an hour before going to the grid. He went on to score a point for 6th place and the Iceman was born.
Romain took pole position for the prestigious Masters of F3 race at Zolder in 2007, only to stall at the start and finish 14th.
Our History: Brazilian Grand Prix
Lotus F1 Team made its Brazilian Grand Prix debut in 1982 under the Toleman name, with British driver Derek Warwick and Italian Teo Fabi at the wheel.
The team has taken two Brazilian Grand Prix victories to date; both courtesy of Michael Schumacher [Benetton] in 1994 / 1995.
Including those two wins, the team has clinched eleven Brazilian Grand Prix podiums; the first with Michael Schumacher [Benetton, 1992] and the most recent via Fernando Alonso [Renault, 2008]. Just one pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix has gone to an Enstone team; Fernando Alonso [Renault] heading the grid in 2005.
Finally, the team has set three fastest laps at Brazilian Grands Prix; Michael Schumacher [Benetton] completing a hat-trick in 1993 / 1994 / 1995.
Kimi has a good record at the Brazilian Grand Prix, having set two fastest laps [2005 / 2007] taken five podiums [2003 / 2004 / 2005 / 2007 / 2008] and of course clinched a solitary victory  which would take the Finn to his first World Championship.
Romain has prior experience at the Brazilian Grand Prix, having competed for none other than Lotus F1 Team [at the time known as Renault] in 2009. The Frenchman also completing Free Practice running with the team last season and will be keen to put that knowledge to good use.
In Numbers: Interlagos
Highest g-force experienced for 3 seconds at T11 16: % of the lap spent braking
Total straight per lap (%)
Gear changes per lap
% of lap at full throttle 76: Lowest apex speed (kmh) at T10 200: Distance in metres from start line to first corner 300: Highest apex speed (kmh) at T15
Top speed (kmh)
Longest full throttle burst (metres) between T12 and T1
Sahara Force India F1 Team
2012 Brazilian Grand Prix Preview
Sahara Force India looks forward to the final race of the 2012 season, the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Brazilian GP: Vijay’s Vision
Dr Vijay Mallya sums up 2012 and looks ahead to the season finale.
Dr Mallya, with one race to go, sum up your feelings after a great year of racing…
Looking back at the season so far, we have every reason to feel proud. We’ve scored more points than in any previous season and every year we’ve demonstrated that we’ve gone up the ladder. And we’ve taken fairly significant steps, not just baby steps. Given the tools that we have, which are mostly of the Jordan era, we have done exceptionally well.
What can you tell us about the team’s ambitions going forward?
We had a board meeting in India after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the board has approved a £50 million capital investment programme for the team. We are going to invest heavily in new technology and give more tools to our design team to try and move further up the grid.
What are your thoughts ahead of this weekend?
We hope that Nico will be able to pull off what he did for Williams in 2010 [pole position]. That’s what is needed if we want to catch Sauber! Otherwise I hope we can end the season with a strong result. Two cars in the points would be nice. Up at the front I look forward to seeing how the fight in the drivers’ championship concludes because it’s never over until it’s over. Also, many congratulations to Red Bull for securing the constructors’ championship in Austin.
The team says goodbye to Nico this weekend. How much has he contributed to the team this season?
Nico has been one of the stars this season. He’s delivered exactly what we expected of him and brought a lot to this team. He has a big future in Formula One and we wish him well.
Nico on Brazil
Nico Hulkenberg gets set for his last race with the team and hopes to capture a special result.
Nico, another four points in Austin brings your total to 53. How do you look back on the second half of the year?
It has been very positive. We had some good results in the first half too, but I think we found our consistency after the summer break. I think some of my best races were Japan and Korea where we didn’t necessarily expect to do so well. To score points there was very satisfying. Also, races such as Austin, where I was under so much pressure towards the end are the moments I will remember from the second part of the year. These were races where we maximised everything.
Your two-year spell with the team comes to an end this weekend. How much have you enjoyed being a part of Sahara Force India?
First of all I want to thank everyone for believing in me and giving me the chance to return to Formula One this year as a race driver. I’ve learned a lot during the last two seasons, even as a third driver, and the time has flown by very quickly. It’s a great team of people; they’re fun to work with and I think we can be proud of the results we achieved together. That’s why it was not an easy decision to leave, but I’m happy to be leaving with good memories. The task now is to end the year in style with a great result.
Paul on Brazil
Paul Di Resta looks back on the season.
Paul, after 19 races you’ve scored 46 points. Are you happy with the season as a whole?
I think as a whole it has been a good year. For me the standout races are Bahrain and Singapore – races where everything came together. The second half of the season has been more mixed. When you look at the results on paper, it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. For various reasons some good results slipped away from us and we’ve had issues that held us back while we tried to understand them. The last race in Austin was looking very positive to begin with, but after my pit stop I just could not get the tyres to work, so I’m hoping that the conditions in Brazil will suit me better.
You raced in Brazil for the first time last year. Tell us about that experience…
I enjoy the circuit, but at the same time it’s quite tricky because of the undulating layout and there are some unusual corners. It’s also quite a tough track on your neck because of the anti-clockwise layout and the high number of left-hand corners. After three races on very new circuits it will make a nice change to go back to one of the classic old-school tracks. It’s a circuit that usually produces good racing and there’s also talk of rain, which would add another element into the mix.
Sauber F1 Team
- Preview – Brazilian Grand Prix
- 20th and final round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, 23.-25.11.2012
Next Sunday a world champion will be crowned at the end of a very exciting and diverse Formula One season. The Sauber F1 Team has experienced highs and lows – four podiums but also empty-handed Sundays like in Austin. So far the team has 124 championship points to its tally, while last year it only had 44 points at the end of the season. Back in 2011 this was enough to defend seventh place in the Constructors’ World Championship in a thrilling race in Sao Paulo. In 2012 the Brazilian Grand Prix on 25th November is the last chance to try and improve to fifth in the championship. The gap is 12 points and Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez are desperate to close this.
Kamui Kobayashi (car number 14):
“I like Brazil! I like the Brazilians and I like the Churrascarias. Interlagos is the place where I drove my first Formula One race in 2009, and last year we were in a battle with Toro Rosso for seventh place in the championship, which we were finally able to defend. I’m really looking forward to this Grand Prix. It’s always special to race in front of the Brazilian fans because they are so enthusiastic about motorsport. I have heard from many different people that I have a lot of fans in Brazil, which is a surprise to me, but a very nice one. I like to race on this track. Tyre management is especially quite a challenge and more pit stops are the result. This will give us the choice of different strategies. This is something we have to focus on. My personal goal is to have a successful race and score as many points as possible.”
Sergio Pérez (car number 15):
“The Brazilian Grand Prix will be the last race of a very long season that has seen a lot of ups and downs, and it will be a very special event for me as it is the last race I will drive for my team of Sauber before I leave. It is a great team and I want to thank everybody for everything they have done for me over the last two years. I am sure it will be very emotional for me in Interlagos. The best way to say thank you, of course, would be a great result and to beat the team in front of us. This is my target. The Interlagos circuit is very nice and it also has a great atmosphere with the fans. The support for Formula One is huge there. The Senna S corners are my favourite part of the circuit. I believe and I hope our car should be good enough there for a strong top ten position.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“The Interlagos track presents quite a lot of challenges for the engineers as well as for the drivers. It is a mix of two high-speed sectors, a fast combination at the end of the long straight and then the infield where you need a lot of stability and grip. There are a couple of low-speed corners as well, but also combinations where you have lateral and longitudinal acceleration. There the car needs a good balance. The middle sector is very technical, but in the other two sectors you need speed. It will be crucial to find the right compromise between downforce and drag as well as high aerodynamic efficiency. As the weather is always a factor in Interlagos you also have to adapt the downforce level to those conditions. There is quite a lot of work to be done on various levels for the engineers and the drivers. Pirelli will again provide the medium and the hard compounds, which shouldn’t be an issue because this track is more abrasive than the one in Austin. However, if the track is damp this could be tricky. Overall, I expect we should be competitive and in a position to finish the season in a positive way.”
Interlagos / 4.309 km
71 laps / 305.909 km
Qualifying and race 14:00 hrs local time (16:00 hrs UTC)
13.09.1986 Amagasaki (JP)
26.01.1990 Guadalajara (MX)
Height / Weight
1.68 m / 62 kg
1.73 m / 64 kg
Sao Paulo 2009 (9th)
Melbourne 2011, (7th/disqualified)
Best race result
3rd (Suzuka 2012)
2nd (Sepang and Monza 2012)
2nd (Spa 2012)
5th (Spa 2012)
1 (Shanghai 2012)
1 (Monaco 2012)
58 (currently 11th)
66 (currently 10th)
Points in total
The Sauber F1 Team is currently 6th in the Constructors’ Championship (124 points).
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Brazilian GP Preview
When: Friday 23 to Sunday 25 November, 2012
Where: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Round: 20 of 20
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: The 71 lap long high altitude Interlagos circuit is one of the highlights of the season and one where overtaking is possible. Setting the car up for this circuit is the classic compromise between pandering to the high downforce requirements of the medium-low speed corners in sector 2 versus the low drag demands of the uphill section from the important T12 exit right up to the start-finish line. After a double points finish in Austin, we will be looking for a similar result here to end the season on a high note.
Pastor Maldonado: The Brazilian Grand Prix is very special and there’s no better place to finish the season. The atmosphere is very Latin American and the fans are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the world. It’s also close to Venezuela so I always see lots of Venezuelan flags around the track and lots of Venezuelan people around Sao Paulo so it feels a bit like a home Grand Prix. The whole team will want to finish the season with a strong result and head into the winter with some good momentum.
Bruno Senna: I’m extremely excited to go back home for the final race of the season. Racing at your home Grand Prix always has a different flavour to it and the energy and excitement you get from the crowd is amazing. I’ve only had the chance to race at home in Formula One twice, but on both occasions the crowd gave me an extra boost. Interlagos is a circuit that most drivers like. It’s very technical and difficult to get the most out of it so leads to some exciting racing. We’ve been improving a lot in the last few races and hopefully we can continue that upward trend and get another double points finish here.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: Interlagos requires every engine characteristic to be on form; top end power down the long, curved – but also uphill – straight and good driveability through the back section. But the main story about Interlagos is the overall altitude of the circuit; around 800m above sea level, meaning the RS27 could produce around 8% less power than at a sea-level race such as Korea. For these reasons we generally use engines with a higher mileage on their third race as power sensitivity is not so critical.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re bringing the P Zero Silver hard and P Zero White medium to the final race of the season: this was a combination that worked well in 2011 although all of the compounds are generally softer this year and we will see some new compounds and structures for 2013. The teams will get a chance to try out some of these new tyres in free practice, where we will allocate each car two extra sets. Interlagos is one of the shortest but also one of the most demanding laps of the year, which puts plenty of lateral and longitudinal energy through the tyres, with some big elevation changes. The weather in Sao Paulo is notoriously unpredictable too, making it a thrilling venue to end the season.
Brazilian Grand PrixView
Race Laps: 71
Fuel consumption and fuel effect are relatively low, compared to the majority of the season
Kerbs are not a problem
The track is not especially bumpy
The Brazilian GP is a hard race for the drivers with many compressions and a long time spent dealing with lateral loads which applied on the opposite side to most circuits
Low atmospheric pressure due to the altitude of the circuit which is the highest of the season: 786 m above sea level.
Top speed can be reached in T1 or T4 depending on wind condition
First gear is not used on the track
Maximising traction is usually the main balance issue
Air/Track temp ( C): 19 / 23
ATM Press (HPA): 922
Hum (%): 85
Wind (kph): N10
CF1T best: P19 Kovalainen
CF1T best: P16 Kovalainen
Overtaking chance: low
Ride height setting particularity: none
Engine severity: medium
Gearbox severity: medium
Lat/Long grip: lateral
Aero eff ratio: medium
Safety car history: 2011 – none, 2010 – 1 (laps 51 – 55)
Track grip evo during w/e: high
Aero settings: medium / high
Brake wear severity: medium
Brake cooling necessity: high
Giedo van der Garde (driving FP1 in Heikki Kovalainen’s car): “This will be my final FP1 run of the season and it’s on another track I haven’t driven on before, but I’ve done the usual preparation on my simulator so I’ll be up to speed quickly. It looks like it’s a pretty technical track and one that everyone tells me has a fantastic atmosphere so I’m looking forward to getting out there and picking up where I left off in Abu Dhabi after two really good days in the car.”
Heikki Kovalainen, car 20, chassis CT01-#03: “Interlagos is a good place for us to end the season as it’s one of those tracks where anything can happen. It looks like there could be rain every day and that’ll mean picking the right strategy will be key to performance – time the stops right and you can take advantage of whatever happens in qualifying or the race. The track itself is also quite tricky. It’s pretty narrow in parts and you need to make sure you get your lines right or it’s very easy to make a mistake.
“It’s also fair to say the Brazilian race has one of the best atmospheres of the whole season. The fans are incredibly passionate about Formula 1, they’re very knowledgeable and the turn the whole weekend into a giant party in the stands. It’s pretty cool on Sunday when you’re on the gird and all the stands are bouncing – it really is a cool place to race F1 cars.”
Vitaly Petrov, car 21, chassis CT01-#02: “The last race of the season is Brazil, a track that’s a good challenge and one where anything can happen. Last year I finished in the points and while that may not be an easy task for us this year, it’s still something we want to fight for. With the weather forecasts for Sunday we might see rain so that could make it a really exciting end to the season right up and down the grid.
“Technically the Brazil track is pretty interesting. You need to have really good traction to power out of the slower corners and you need to make sure you have the setup right for the long flat-out run from the last corner, past the pits and into turn one, giving you a chance to pass other cars as you head towards the start of another lap.”
HRT F1 Team
Brazilian Grand Prix Preview
- 23rd – 25th of November
- Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace – 71 laps – 4.309km
- Sao Paulo, Monday the 19th of November 2012
The 2012 Formula 1 World Championship draws to a close in Brazil as the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace stages the 20th and final Grand Prix of the season. HRT Formula 1 Team and its drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan, will be looking to end the season on a positive note after a challenging but rewarding season.
The 4.309 km track, located in Interlagos, is a fast one and one of the few running anti-clockwise on the calendar. The bumpy surface and the constant ups and downs mean that the cars and the drivers are put through their paces. The potential unstable weather conditions may also add up to the excitement surrounding one of the most popular races on the calendar and last event of the 2012 season.
Pirelli has nominated its PZero hard (prime) and medium (option) for this race.
Pedro de la Rosa: “It is incredible how time flies and for us to get to Brazil for the last race of the season, after everything we’ve achieved, makes me very proud. The race in Brazil is always a very special Grand Prix, not only because of the track’s layout but also for the Formula 1 history and the fans. It is a short but challenging track where it is possible to overtake. But the weather and the possible showers can also play an important role in the race’s outcome. If that would be the case, we will be ready to take our chances. It is the last race of the season and we will do our best to achieve a good result. It would be something fantastic to do, not only for the whole team that has worked so hard throughout the year, but also for the fans that have been an amazing support this season”.
Narain Karthikeyan: “Interlagos is a circuit that I know and I remember from when I drove there in 2005. I like the track very much and there is also so much heritage of Formula 1. The layout has some interesting parts and the fact that it goes up and down makes it quite spectacular. But also the crowds make it a rather special one. For the drivers, it is physically very demanding because it is one of the few circuits that run anticlockwise. It is the last race of the season and we are all highly motivated to do a good job to finish the season in the best possible way”.
Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: “After a few races at modern tracks, we head now to one of the most historic circuits on the calendar. The track’s layout is quite a special one and the atmosphere there is fantastic. We are all looking forward to one of the best races of the season where the Championship title will be decided. At HRT Formula 1 Team, we will be facing our own challenge but I know that everyone will give their best, as they have done since we started with this amazing project. We managed to build it from scratch in record time and we can all be proud of what we have achieved. I am really proud of every single team member that made this happen, with their effort and commitment, and I am confident that in Brazil we can have a good race. That would be a nice reward for the team to conclude this very long and tough season with a positive result”.
Marussia F1 Team
What we’re saying about the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix
Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil
23-25 November 2012
All you need to know >>> It’s the 2012 Season swansong where the Drivers’ Championship will be decided…Race date 25 November…Laps 71…Circuit length 4.309 km…Race distance 305.909 km…15 corners, 10 left-handers, 5 right…Run in an anticlockwise direction in common with Singapore, Korea, Abu Dhabi and Austin…Present design of the track dates back to 1990, when the length was reduced from 7,829m to 4,397m…Much like Austin, the circuit is not built on flat terrain and features many steep inclines and bumpy sections, which makes it a real challenge to drive…the low ambient pressure due to the altitude affects the engine power output…Turn 13, a left-hand up-hill kink, marks the start of the long and exhilarating top-speed section of track which demands a lot of power from the cars…The series of left turns from the exit of Junção all the way to Turn 1 into Senna’s S is typically taken at full throttle and treated as a long straight – one of the longest full-throttle stretches on the Formula 1 calendar…Tyre nomination Pirelli PZero Silver Hard and White Medium, same as Austin…
The Marussia F1 Team have hotfooted it from Texas to South America for the ‘Last Samba’ of the season – the Brazilian Grand Prix. The race takes place at one of the sport’s favourite destinations, São Paulo, and the much-loved Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos, where Championship battles up and down the field will be decided come Sunday.
Timo Glock, Driver #24
“As we head into the final race of season, it’s quite unbelievable that it’s almost over once again. Having said that, Brazil is always quite an eventful race where anything can happen, so at the front of the field the championship could be quite exciting yet. For us, our usual objective since the last few races, which is to try to hold position and finish the year by getting the very best from the whole package. Should be an exciting weekend.”
Charles Pic, Driver #25
“It’s hard to believe that this is the final race of my debut season. Since the mid-point it seems to have flown by, probably because we have been making such good progress as a team and we went to every race looking for more. That’s what we’ll be hoping for in Brazil too; although we made some good steps in Austin, it wasn’t all straightforward and the race was tough because of the damage I got into Turn 1. We have a good package but there is more of it to come still I think. I hope we can keep moving forward until the end and bring home the result we need. It will be the best reward for the whole team.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“As reluctant as we were to leave Austin after a very enjoyable debut race weekend at the Circuit of The Americas, we head to Brazil with a lot of eager anticipation. It is a favoured race destination for the team and there is a lot riding on the weekend across the whole sport. We are obviously fighting our own battle for 10th in the Constructors’ Championship, but while we still need a strong weekend, where we are today and what we have achieved thus far should not be overlooked. We held 10th for the first five races of the season, and the steady progression we have made since the mid-season enabled us to not only get it back but also hang on to it for the last six races. There is a feel-good factor about the whole team at present because of that and although this race marks the end of the season, it feels like this is just the start of some very positive times ahead for the Marussia F1 Team.”
The Brazilian Grand Prix from a tyre point of view:
Interlagos, 23-25 November 2012
FORMULA ONE TEAMS GET FIRST TASTE OF PIRELLI’S 2013 TYRES
What’s the story?
For the first time in its history, Pirelli will approach the final round of the Formula One season as sole tyre supplier with the championship yet to be decided, thanks to eight different winners from the season so far – seven of them coming in the first seven races.
Just like last year, the last race of the season will be held at the legendary Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, and Pirelli has nominated the P Zero Silver hard tyre and P Zero White medium tyre for the title decider.
Interlagos is one of the shortest but also one of the most technically challenging circuits on the calendar of the year, with a 4.309-kilometre lap characterized by fast corners, hairpin bends and dramatic elevation changes.
The different surface variations mean that generating optimal grip and downforce is vital, particularly as there are a number of camber changes as well. Turn 14 – the slowest corner of the track – is a good example of some of the technical challenges that Interlagos poses for the tyres: the drivers brake hard while heading uphill and then turning into the corner, before managing wheelspin carefully as they exit the turn.
Just to add to the demands of what is already an extremely complex and busy circuit, the weather at Interlagos is notoriously variable, meaning that the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet tyres could be called into service.
The teams will also have two extra sets of next year’s prototype tyres at their disposal for Friday’s free practice sessions, in order to give them an idea of the characteristics of the 2013 tyres. The compounds and construction of the slick tyres will be different, so this will be a valuable opportunity for the drivers to prepare for next year. But with the title fight so closely balanced, many drivers will prefer to concentrate on Brazil: just one of the many crucial strategic decisions that they will have to make over the course of the weekend.
Pirelli’s motorsport director says:
Paul Hembery: “We’ll be bringing some of our 2013 prototype tyres to Brazil in order for the teams to get a taste of them during free practice. With no testing until February otherwise, this will be an extremely valuable opportunity for them to see what our new tyres are like as they finalise their 2013 cars – so let’s hope that it doesn’t rain on Friday! Both the compounds and construction will be different, which means that the characteristics of the new tyres will be altered, with a wider working range and some compounds that are slightly more aggressive. We’ve yet to finalise where exactly all the compounds will sit in relation to each other, which is why we are calling the tyre to be used in Brazil a ‘prototype’ rather than giving it a specific nomination, but it will be very representative of our general design philosophy next year. We’re looking forward to hearing the feedback from the teams about it, and of course sending our 2012 tyres out in style at what is usually a very demanding and thrilling race in Brazil, watched by some of the most passionate and welcoming fans in the world.”
The men behind the steering wheel say:
Bruno Senna (Williams F1 Team): “Interlagos is a tough track for the tyres because you have quite a few traction zones that put lateral loads on the tyres and most of these traction zones are coming from low speed corners. At the same time some of these corners are just flat where you use the DRS and KERS at the same time, so that definitely gives the rear tyres a hard time. The front tyres have a very easy time in Interlagos: they really don’t do much work. The severity also comes from the fact that the track is bumpy, so they slide even more. So all these things together put a big stress on the tyres and normally make the race more than a one-stop race because the tyres slide so much.
I am really excited about racing at home again. This is my third time racing in Brazil, but I never raced there before with Formula One. I think it is becoming one of my favourite tracks. It is so technical but at the same time there is a good vibe from the crowd which really pushes me to try and achieve even more and I think it will be quite special this year.”
Pirelli’s test driver says:
Lucas di Grassi: “Interlagos is actually where I started my career in go-karts and it is one of my favourite circuits, with a bit of everything, plenty of elevation changes, and a nice rhythm. I believe the track has the highest altitude on the F1 calendar, around 700 metres, which has a big influence on both downforce and engine power. From a tyre point of view, the hard and medium tyre choice should be good. Although the surface is very rough, Interlagos won’t consume a lot of tyres: the corners aren’t so fast and it won’t place as many demands on them as Suzuka, for example. Also, we have chosen tyres that are more on the conservative side here. The medium will be the fastest tyre and this will probably be best for qualifying. I suspect it will be a one or two-stop strategy this time. The only unpredictability is the threat of rain but that could make the race even more interesting now that the championship is still wide open.”
Technical tyre notes:
The track surface in Brazil is notably bumpy, which makes it hard for the tyres to find traction and increases the physical demands on the drivers. The race lasts for 71 laps and last year’s winner, Mark Webber (Red Bull), adopted a three-stop strategy to win by 17 seconds.
There is a big emphasis on combined traction: the transition when drivers go from braking to putting the power down. Interlagos tends to be light on brakes, so conserving momentum is important.
The wide variety of high and low speed corners, along with the big elevation changes and high altitude above sea level, mean that it is quite difficult to find the correct aerodynamic set-up and, once more, a good medium-low downforce compromise is needed. The last sector of the lap is one of the most important when it comes to the eventual lap time, so this tends to get prioritised in terms of set-up.
The tyre choices so far:
|PZero Red||PZero Yellow||PZero White||PZero Silver|
Pirelli in Brazil:
- Brazil is one of the key markets for Pirelli. The company has five factories there (more than any other country in the world, including Italy): one for car tyres, another for car and truck, another for truck and agricultural, another for motorbikes and truck, and a final factory for steel cord.
- Pirelli recently won the ‘Folha Top of Mind’ award in the tyre category for the 10th consecutive time in Brazil. This prestigious consumer award has been established for 22 years, with 50 categories represented.
Other news from Pirelli:
- Straight after the Brazilian Grand Prix, Pirelli will host the launch of its celebrated 2013 calendar in Rio de Janeiro. The photographer this year is American photojournalist Steve McCurry, famous for his “Afghan Girl” shot, which was the cover of National Geographic magazine in June 1985.
- Pirelli’s recipe book, Miles & Meals, which was launched at the Monaco Grand Prix, has appeared in France’s prestigious ‘Paris Match’ magazine. The magazine takes a look at the book and the recipes created by Pirelli’s chef, Fabrizio Tanfani.
- As well as P Zero tyres you can now purchase a Pirelli P Zero snowboard, which has just been launched by the Italian firm’s fashion and accessories arm for this year’s winter sports season.
Renault Sport F1
Brazilian GP Technical Feature
One week on from the sport’s return to the United States, Formula 1 reaches its highest heights, quite literally, in Brazil.
At nowhere else does Formula 1 race at such high altitudes as in Brazil, and that creates unique problems from an engine perspective.
“We are at 800m above sea level in Interlagos. This altitude will degrade engine performance fairly significantly since the pressure is less at higher altitude, so less air will pass into a non-turbocharged engine. As a result you make less power because less oxygen is available to burn with the fuel,” explains Renault Sport F1 engine engineer for Williams, David Lamb. “It’s a fact of life for all engine suppliers. It is in the region of 8 to 10 percent here, so it is quite a significant drop when compared to Austin. The engine was probably at its most powerful all season last Friday because conditions were so cold. The drivers will notice it here, no question.”
Interlagos is a high power circuit, with a long uphill stretch at the conclusion of the lap, but there are countermeasures that can be taken to compensate.
“You’ll have less power and that is a simple fact, however the engines have an easier time internally so you can run them harder for longer. The combustion pressure is less so the pistons and other reciprocating components are put under less stress.
“You will need to use the driver torque pedal maps to make sure that the driver still has the full operating range of the engine under his right foot. There’s a compromise to be made between giving the driver the same physical response from the engine before stepping out to full throttle without losing any pedal resolution. For example, if you took a torque pedal map from Austin where the drivers receive around 300Nm from the engine at full throttle, here they will simply never get that. At maybe 80% of the pedal last week we would have asked for 270Nm, 10% less than full throttle and roughly equal to the maximum output here. As a result, using the Austin pedal map here would result in him getting maximum engine torque at just 80% pedal.”
There are however advantages to the altitude: one of the upswings is reduced fuel consumption.
“As a generalisation a more powerful engine uses more fuel if we assume a constant efficiency. So as a direct consequence of the engine being underpowered here, consumption per kilometre is that bit less.
“Another benefit is that since the air is less dense, there is less drag on the car. End of straight speed isn’t affected hugely because you take the drag off in roughly equal measure to the power, but that also means the drivers have less downforce through the corners, which is why the cars can look quite nervous. We therefore have to work hard to deliver drivability and modulate wheelspin during the second sector where there is a lot of lap time gain to be had.”
And, as if life wasn’t difficult enough for the engineers this weekend, the weather promises to throw a huge curveball.
“Every single forecast says it will be dry and beautiful all weekend with a slight chance of a shower in qualifying, but then Sunday is going to be a washout.”
How then can the teams possibly hope to prepare for such a huge shift in weather?
“You have to make that choice before qualifying as when the car goes into parc fermé you can’t change maps, so you need to have that balance. Realistically there’s no reason why your engine should perform differently in the dry or the wet in terms of its torque response. You may however err on the side of caution and go for a soft pedal map on tip-in to help the driver modulate the wheelspin in the wet. We also have to submit our ignition and torque maps before the event and the difference in climatic conditions between Saturday and Sunday is not insignificant. We’re already thinking about what we submit and how that will affect us this weekend. There’s a lot to think about.”
Mark’s Brazilian Grand Prix preview
Interlagos holds special memories for Mark. He’s finished on the podium at the track for the last three years, winning in 2009 and ’11, and he heads to this year’s season finale hoping for his third win of 2012.
“Let’s hope we can get a decent result,” says Mark. “I know my way around this place and I like driving here. It’s a legendary circuit that has been staging world championship grands prix for almost 40 years and it’s a good challenge, with lots of undulations. I ended last season on a high by winning this race and it would be great to do so again on Sunday.”
At 4.3km Interlagos is one of the shortest circuits on the F1 calendar, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging than some of the longer circuits. Its mix of corner speeds keeps the drivers guessing and its notorious bumps make it hard for the engineers to find the right car set-up.
“It’s a unique circuit,” says Mark. “You need a car that’s good at everything: aero efficiency is important because you have the long uphill drag to the start-finish straight; traction needs to be there as well, and you need a car that rides the bumps well. The bumps also make it quite physically demanding, but it’s not as bad as it used to be, when the cars were quicker. But I’ve been coming here for a few years now; I know how to prepare for this race.”
Mark has started in the top three at the last five grands prix and he’s hoping to maintain that level of performance this weekend. After his retirement from the US Grand Prix on Sunday, he’s also hoping for a trouble-free race. “Not finishing in Austin was disappointing,” says Mark. “But we know what caused the retirement and we’re confident that we’re on top of it. It’s satisfying to start the race from the front, but the points aren’t handed out on Saturdays, only Sundays, so it’s vital to be there at the end of the race.”