Brazilian Grand PrixView

By on Thursday, November 6, 2014
Lotus F1 Team

Lotus F1 Team

As the season races towards its climax in Abu Dhabi – where the title will be decided – there remains the matter of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix at the famous Interlagos Circuit, the penultimate round of 2014.

Whatever happens in Brazil, neither Mercedes driver can wrap up the title, meaning that the much maligned double points rule has achieved the goal of ensuring there’ll be a showdown at sundown at Yas Marina.

But could there yet be another plot twist before then? Lewis Hamilton has enjoyed a supreme run of form to turn around a 29 point deficit into a 24 point advantage in the space of five races, but neither he nor rival Nico Rosberg has enjoyed much success at Interlagos. Hamilton may have clinched his sole world title in Brazil but he’s scored just one podium at the track in seven attempts while Rosberg has a similarly indifferent record at the circuit. With wet weather also an ever-present threat in Brazil, it could be a far from straightforward weekend.

The track

The Autódromo José Carlos Pace – known better as Interlagos (literally, ‘between the lakes’) – has been in operation since the 1940s and hosted Formula 1 fleetingly in the 1970s until safety concerns led to the race moving elsewhere. Sufficient upgrades and a modification of the layout enabled Formula 1 to return in 1990 and the sport has made its annual visit ever since, with the circuit having hosted six season finales.

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

The short anti-clockwise circuit is one of the most challenging on the Formula 1 calendar and a lap begins alongside the famous Tribunas, with the proximity of the grandstands to the track adding to the carnival-like atmosphere. Drivers brake hard underneath the bridge for the famous Senna S complex, a steep downhill left-hander followed by a right-hander, which leads onto the long-radius Curva do Sol. The pit exit joins the track along the Reta Oposta, a straight which leads to a 90 degree left-hander at Descida do Lago. A good exit from the second part of the corner can open up an overtaking opportunity into Ferradura, a medium-speed right hander with immediately leads on to Laranjinha before drivers have to brake for Turn 8 as they enter the twisty part of the circuit. Drivers descend into the almost-banked Pinheirinho right-hander, before rising back up to the Bico de Pato, a tricky slow right-hander where drivers frequently lock their inside tyre. A fast downhill left-hander at Mergulho is simple in the dry but treacherous in the wet, while a good exit from Juncao is crucial as it leads on to the longest full-throttle sections of the circuit. Drivers climb uphill on the run to the pit straight, negotiating Subida do Boxes and Arquibancadas before crossing the line for another lap.

The race

Caterham F1 Team

Caterham F1 Team

The entire Interlagos track has been resurfaced since the last race in 2013 while both the pit entry and exit has been realigned due to safety concerns. The old pit entry was deemed unsafe and so has been shifted to the left, with a chicane added to slow the drivers down. New run-off on the exit of the Senna S means that while the pit exit retains its original shape, it has been shifted slightly further along the track.

There will be two DRS zones, as usual, this weekend. The first is along the Reta Oposta, with a detection point on the exit of the Senna S. The second is along the pit straight, with the detection point 30 metres after the Subida do Boxes.

Pirelli originally nominated the hardest compound tyres in its range to deal with the demands of the circuit but backtracked after concerns raised by drivers and instead the Soft and Medium tyres will be available for drivers.

The driver steward for this weekend’s event is five-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro.

Timetable (GMT -2)

Friday 7 November

  • Practice One: 10:00 - 11:30
  • Practice Two: 14:00 - 15:30

Saturday 8 November

  • Practice Three: 11:00 - 12:00
  • Qualifying: 14:00 (60 minutes)

Sunday 9 November

  • Race: 14:00 (71 laps or two hours)

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