And if this season has been predictable at times, the AutÃ³dromo JosÃ© Carlos Pace is the one venue that, wet or dry, can throw up a totally unexpected outcome.
Particularly this year, as the track has been completely resurfaced, which could see teams forced to use entirely different setups.
Interlagos juxtaposes some of the most dismal facilities seen at any Grand Prix circuit with a thrilling track and a feverish crowd.
The long blast towards the first corner provides room for overtaking – and so does the following run down the hill. The courses features a twisty infield with a couple of fast corners.
But there is one major change to the track this year – it has been completely resurfaced with the same compound that was used at Spa-Francorchamps this year.
As a result the circuit’s infamously bumpy surface may now be much smoother, which could dilute the challenge of the circuit. However some teams have indicated they still expect the track to be fairly bumpy.
Expect the teams to run different setups than is usual for Interlagos – specifically, the cars should be able to run lower ride heights.
TV times – Britain
Schedules from ITV and Radio Times
Grand Prix Qualifying live – Saturday 20th October 16.30-18.30 ITV4 (Qualifying starts 17.00)
Grand Prix Qualifying highlights – Saturday 20th October 23.50-00.50 ITV1
Grand Prix Race live – Sunday 21st October 16.00-19.00 ITV1 (Race starts 17.00)
Grand Prix Race highlights – Sunday 21st October 23.45-00.45 ITV1
Grand Prix Race highlights – Monday 22nd October 18.00-19.00 ITV4
Either of McLaren’s drivers can be champion. But for Alonso to do it he needs to get at least one car between him and Lewis Hamilton. If McLaren run away with the race, like they did at Monza, ironically it might not help him.
McLaren’s biggest concern could be tyre management. Bridgestone are bringing the super-soft and soft compounds to Interlagos, and no team has been more marginal on tyre wear than McLaren.
Either of Renault’s drivers could be starting their final race for the French team. If the widely suspected rumours that Alonso will replace Giancarlo Fisichella next year are true, the Italian’s 194th Grand Prix could be his last.
Heikki Kovalainen meanwhile will be seeking to complete a perfect record of finishing every race in his dÃ©but season. Not even Lewis Hamilton can achieve that.
Ferrari ran away with the race last year – but they were the only front runners on Bridgestone tyres last season. Without that advantage, they are expected to be behind McLaren this time around. But will the new surface play into their hands? After all, they ran away from the field at Spa.
But even if Kimi Raikkonen were to win with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso between himself and Lewis Hamilton it wouldn’t be enough to take the title. Will that push them into a more aggressive approach?
Or will we see more unusual tactics? A lightly-fuelled Massa could take pole and hold up the field while a heavily-fuelled Raikkonen escapes. They have options if they dare to use them.
One final race for the wretched RA107. And one final race for Rubens Barrichello to avoid failing to score a point in a season for the first time in his career.
Rare unreliability cost BMW a possible win at Shanghai – it seems likely they are using the last races of the season as preparation for next year. The team are likely to be closest to the front runners and may even have a role to play in deciding the championship…
Ralf Schumacher will make his final start for Toyota – and possibly for good. He will want to finish on a high and ending Toyota’s five-race streak of not scoring would be welcome.
A final good result could see Red Bull nick fourth off Williams in the final standings. David Coulthard has won here before and the team has been in good form since making some progress at the final 2007 test at Jerez.
Fielding a rookie driver – who has a reputation for hot-headed moves – at a tense championship decider like this sounds like a recipe for disaster. Kazuki Nakajima has proved competent in GP2 and although it seems early for him to be making his Grand Prix dÃ©but, he has completed substantial mileage in the FW29.
He will have a lot to do to get anywhere near Nico Rosberg, though.
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Fresh from the high of Shanghai the team will be buoyed from success and looking to get both drivers through the first phase of qualifying and into the midfield melee. From there, further points are not out of the question.
Vitantonio Liuzzi starts his last race for the team, but he has his eye on a drive at Williams next year.
It’s been a poor end of the season for Super Aguri, who began the year so brightly but have faded towards the rear of the field.
They had an excellent race here last year, Takuma Sato finishing tenth, and a top ten finish is the best they can realistically hope for this time around as well.
Predict the podium for the Grand Prix – leave your comments below.
Photo: Ferrari Media
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- AutÃ³dromo JosÃ© Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Brazil
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