They say time flies when you’re having fun and so, here we are, in Brazil, for the penultimate Grand Prix of the 2016 season.
Yes, we’ve traversed the Atlantic for the second time in a week, racking up nearly 20,000kms of air travel since the chequered flag was waved in Mexico. Now we’re on South American asphalt at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo, a track that has seen its fair share of exhilarating title deciders in the past, and which looks set to play host to yet another this weekend.
Another thing this track is renowned for is rain; specifically, a well-timed downpour throwing all the balls back up into the air. The forecast for this weekend is not good – or, very good, depending on how you look at it. One thing’s for sure – F1 fans are in for a treat!
Formula 1 Grande Prêmio do Brasil 2016
Autódromo José Carlos Pace
Pascal, disappointment for you last time out in Mexico. No doubt you’ll be back with a vengeance this weekend in Brazil?
“I hope so! Yes, it was pretty tough to take in Mexico. We’d had such a strong weekend, making it through to Q2 and with a really strong race ahead of us. But there was no point letting my head drop – there are bigger things we need to focus on, like bringing home 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship. That’s where my head will be at for the remaining two races.”
Much the same as most of the previous races, this is your first time to Brazil. What do you make of it so far?
“I think this is the perfect venue for this point in the season – a technically interesting track that has a lot of challenges for team and driver, and one where exciting racing is pretty much guaranteed. It’s a race that can create a few surprises – which means opportunities – so we need to be right there to take advantage of them.”
Esteban, seven races down, two to go. What is the objective this weekend?”
“The first thing for me is to make sure we have managed to dial-out the problem we had in Mexico, as it affected my whole weekend. I’m really hoping we can start from our usual good baseline again and I can focus on building my performance through the weekend. A more representative progression and hopefully a more representative result to go with it. Plus, we have a big job to do for the team in the next two races, so we need to keep pushing and find more performance to help us keep up the fight with Sauber.”
What are you most looking forward to on your first visit to Brazil?
“On-track, I’ve watched some fantastic racing here over the years and in particular the weather has played a big hand in that. I’ve already witnessed my first São Paulo thunderstorm – and I think there are plenty more where that one came from. It’s an exciting track to drive and a nice one to try to master, with all the elevation changes, the harder spectrum tyres and finding the best set-up to manage the aero demands for this circuit. Off-track? I’m looking forward to a nice juicy steak at one of the amazing churrascarias.”
Dave, the last two races have been a little nerve-wracking, to say the least. We need to keep Sauber at bay. What’s the plan?
“Yes, the edge of our pit wall seats hasn’t been the most comfortable position to be in, so we need to relieve the pressure, in so far as that’s possible. I hope we can get to a place where both drivers are happy with the way the car is handling this weekend, so we are at full strength and able to keep taking the fight to Sauber. Anything can happen in racing and this is a track that has produced more than its fair share of surprises. So we need to keep our wits about us and plan for every opportunity, and give our two very determined drivers the tools to get the job done.”