From the ebullient Mexican wave to the equally feverish welcome of the Brazilian crowd: our world tour continues and the next stop is Sao Paulo, which, this weekend, hosts the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the Formula 1 season.
Sunday’s race will be the 45th edition of the Brazilian Grand Prix and apart from ten held at Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarepagua circuit, they have all been run here at Interlagos. The 4.3 kilometre track, named in memory of Jose Carlos Pace, rises to 786 metres above sea level and even if that doesn’t come close to Mexico City’s 2500 metres, our engineers will nevertheless have to deal with the rarified air and its effect on cooling and downforce. A good car here generates a high level of aerodynamic downforce and has good traction out of the corners, particularly essential in the sinuous parts of the track. Interlagos and its old-skool feel is very popular with the drivers, who have to deal with 15 corners – 5 right handers and 10 left handers – while it’s short length means they have to tackle it 71 times to complete the 305.9 km race distance.
The TV screen showing the weather radar picture always draws a crowd here and at the moment the outlook is for persistent rain all weekend long. The Interlagos track does not boast particularly good drainage, which means anything could happen in these conditions. If the track is wet, then the STR12 will be shod with intermediate or full wet Pirelli Cinturato tyres. For dry conditions, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will be able to pick from 1 set each of White Medium tyres, 4 of the Yellow Soft and 8 of the Red Supersoft.