LOOKING AHEAD TO BRAZIL
Our official race previews are your guide for every lap of every race in 2017.
Hear from the team, drivers and management as we prepare for round 19 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at Autódromo José Carlos Pace.
Follow McLaren TEAMStream for all the build-up to the Brazlian Grand Prix.
Race title FORMULA 1 GRANDE PREMIO HEINEKEN DO BRASIL 2017
Circuit name Autódromo José Carlos Pace
First race 1973
2016 Lewis Hamilton, 71 laps, 3:01:01.335s
2015 Nico Rosberg
2014 Nico Rosberg
History lesson Interlagos is one of the oldest and most historic venues on the Formula 1 calendar. The circuit staged its first world championship race in 1973, on a breathtakingly fast 7.960km/4.946-mile layout that McLaren world champion Emerson Fittipaldi described as “a rollercoaster”. The track was shortened and modified in the late ’80s for safety reasons and the new layout has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix every year since 1990
City Sao Paulo
Time zone GMT-2/CET-3
Population 15 million
How far? Sao Paulo is 9,500km (5,903 miles) from the McLaren Technology Centre
Getting there As with all of the flyaway races, the pre-set-up crew headed to Sao Paulo 10 days before the race. The mechanics followed on Sunday night, arriving on the Monday morning of race week, with the engineers following 48 hours later
Surprising fact Sao Paulo has the third-largest concentration of skyscrapers in the world, behind New York and Hong Kong
Local speciality Brazil has many cultural influences, all of which combine to make the country a culinary delight. Meat is a staple in many dishes, a highlight of which is Feijoada, the national stew. The ingredients are salty meat, rice, beans and farofa, a toasted manioc flour mix
Weather The weather is notoriously unreliable in Sao Paulo. Temperatures are currently around 22 degrees and sunshine is expected over the race weekend. But you can never discount the possibility of rain – it’s Sao Paulo!
Track length 4.309km/2.677 miles (third-shortest track of the year – longest: Spa-Francorchamps, shortest: Monaco)
2016 pole position Lewis Hamilton, 1m10.736s
2016 fastest lap Max Verstappen, 1m25.305s (lap 67)
Lap record 1:11.473s (Juan Pablo Montoya, 2004)
Tyre choice Red Supersoft, yellow Soft and White medium – the ninth time this combination has been used in 2017
Distance to Turn One 190m/0.118 miles (longest of season: Mexico 800m/0.497 miles)
Longest straight 650m/0.404 miles, on the approach to Turn One (longest of the season: Baku, 2.1km/1.305 miles)
Top speed 320km/h/199mph, on the approach to Turn One (fastest of season: Monza, 360km/h/224mph)
Full throttle 62 per cent (highest of the season: Monza, 75 per cent)
Brakewear Low. There are only six braking zones around the lap, of which only two are heavy. Just 15 per cent of the lap is spent braking
Fuel consumption 1.49kg per lap, which is low
ERS demands High. There is a relatively high amount of ERS deployment around the lap, but not many places in which to recover the energy through braking
Gear changes 42 per lap/2,982 per race
Laps 71 laps
Start time 14:00hrs local/16:00hrs GMT/17:00 CET
Grid advantage The outside of the track, where pole position is located, holds a definite advantage because it’s on the racing line. It’s one of the shortest dashes of the year to Turn One, so the cars are still very congested when they turn in and there’s often contact
DRS There are two DRS zones, on the approaches to Turns One and Four
Don’t put the kettle on… Last year’s race was atypical, due to the wet conditions. Lewis Hamilton won the race with three stints on the Wet tyre; Max Verstappen, in third, split his race into six stints, alternating between the Wet and Intermediate tyres. If this year’s race is dry, the expectation is for one pitstop because Pirelli is taking relatively conservative tyre choices
Pitlane length/Pitstops 380m/0.236 miles (longest of the season: Silverstone, 457m/0.283 miles). It takes 20s to make a stop; drivers need to be careful not to cross the white line on pit entry
Safety Car likelihood 70 per cent. This race is traditionally incident-filled, with a Safety Car period or a Virtual Safety Car period occurring most years
Watch out for… The weather. Sao Paulo’s nickname is Terra da Garoa, “the land of drizzle”, and with good reason. Conditions can change quickly, which often leads to exciting races
“Interlagos is one of the great ‘classic’ tracks on the calendar, with an incredible history and a long list of famous names that have lifted the trophy. It’s also one of the most dramatic grands prix of the year – there are always incidents and action and the weather plays a big part in the outcome.
“This circuit should suit our car better than the last couple of tracks, so we hope we can give ourselves the best chance in qualifying as starting position is very important in a race where a lot can happen. It’s a really fun track – a short lap with a good flow, and the new cars this year will make it feel even faster. During the race, if you can get a good rhythm through the final corner it really helps down the start-finish straight and into Turn One, and then you can attack the first corner going into the next lap. It’s part of what makes this circuit so exciting.
“After the USA and Mexico, we’re looking ahead to Brazil and Abu Dhabi with a bit more expectation as we knew those tracks would be really difficult for us. However, Mexico was definitely a surprise and we performed better than we anticipated. This will surely be a tricky race and there are always risks to take with the weather and strategy, but if we can start the race from where we should be in qualifying, it could give us a good chance to score some points.”
“I’m looking forward to tackling another new circuit next weekend in Brazil, especially one that is considered so legendary among the fans and the other drivers. Interlagos is the place where championships have been won and lost, and classic grands prix have taken place with great names like Senna and Prost winning some of F1’s most famous races.
“Like every circuit we race on, I put in a lot of preparation with my engineers in the simulator, so by the time we head out onto the track on Friday morning I feel completely ready to tackle it and already comfortable with the layout and set-up the circuit requires. This means that, like Fernando, I can spend FP1 dialling-in the car to the track and conditions and give valuable feedback to the team so they can gather as much as information as possible.
“Qualifying at Interlagos is always important because you never know what can happen in the race. In Mexico I had a great start, so if we can start further up the grid in Brazil – providing we can avoid more penalties – it’ll open up good opportunities in the race. It’s important to stay out of trouble and have a clean race and then we can see what we can do from there. There’s everything to play for and I’m excited to experience the famous atmosphere at Interlagos thanks to the enthusiastic Brazilian fans.”
McLAREN HONDA RACING DIRECTOR
“As we enter the penultimate race weekend of the season, Interlagos is always a fantastic venue to visit and the scene of a number of dramatic and poignant grands prix for McLaren. The undulating nature of the circuit is one of the most famous configurations on the calendar, and provides a real test for not only the car and driver but also the whole team.
“It’s one of a few races of the season where anything can happen – and often does – and can mean a challenging weekend for our mechanics, engineers and strategists alike, because of the drama the weather conditions often create on this unforgiving circuit. The difference between a solid points-scoring result and not is often the number of gambles the teams of strategists up and down the pitlane have to take depending on the given weather situation, which makes it one of the most exciting race weekends on the calendar.
“For McLaren, we’re heading into the weekend with cautious optimism as we know that statistically this circuit should suit the strengths of our package better than the past couple of venues we’ve visited. Both of our drivers are well prepared for the weekend ahead and the whole team is looking forward to the legendary welcome we always receive from the incredible Brazilian crowds. I hope we can contribute to the great show the enthusiastic fans have come to expect there each year and end the weekend with a positive result.”
HONDA R&D CO. LTD HEAD OF F1 PROJECT & EXECUTIVE CHIEF ENGINEER
“After ending busy back-to-back races in the USA and Mexico, we’re now heading to Brazil and the penultimate race of the season.
“Last time out in Mexico ended with a positive atmosphere in the team after Fernando snatched an all-important championship point. We’re now looking to maintain that momentum as we head to Interlagos.
“The legendary Autódromo José Carlos Pace is a relatively short, albeit challenging, track. It is highly technical with a variety of swooping corners and elevation changes, and overtaking is notoriously tricky. PU set-up will be key to ensuring good driveability throughout the lap.
“Brazil will always be a special place for Honda due to our great history with Ayrton Senna. We receive a warm welcome from the fans every time we go there, and hopefully we can show them a good race.”