Sao Paulo send-off for Webber and the V8 era

2013 Brazilian Grand Prix preview

Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Interlagos, 2011The historic Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace has been the scene of a number of memorable F1 season finales in recent years, including a tense, title-deciding thriller 12 months ago.

Although there are no championships to be determined this season, Interlagos will once again signal the closing of a remarkable chapter in the sport?s history this weekend.

After seven seasons, the Brazilian Grand Prix marks the 147th and final race of Formula One’s 2.4 litre V8 engine era, ahead of the introduction of 1.6 litre V6 turbo power units in 2014.

Although not the most powerful or advanced engines to have been used throughout the 63 year history of the world championship, the V8 era has produced some of the most memorable and dramatic races of all time, while the homologation of engine specifications gave rise to a period of remarkable reliability.

This weekend, the Formula One paddock will also come together to bid a fond farewell to one of the grid?s most popular and successful drivers ?ǣ Mark Webber. After a career spanning 11 seasons, 13 pole positions and nine grand prix victories, the Australian veteran will end his F1 career at Interlagos ahead of his move to Porsche?s endurance racing prototype project next year.

But while Webber will no doubt be looking to close his F1 career with a win, it will take a remarkable effort for him to put a stop to his team mate?s unprecedented run of success. Having virtually cruised to victory in the last eight races, there?s no palpable reason to why Sebastian Vettel cannot make it nine successive victories this weekend.

Interlagos circuit information

Lap length 4.309km (2.677 miles)
Distance 71 laps (305.9km/190.1 miles)
Lap record* 1’11.473 (Juan Pablo Montoya, 2004)
Fastest lap 1’09.822 (Rubens Barrichello, 2004)
Tyres Hard and Medium

*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix

Interlagos track data in full

Originally an intimidating 7.9km course during its first stint as a grand prix venue in the seventies, Interlagos has been a permanent fixture on the calendar since F1 returned to the shorter, modern layout in 1990.

With its high average speed, long straights and fast sweeping corners, Interlagos is one of the most physically demanding circuits on the calendar. From the downhill plunge of the Senna Esses to the fast sweeps of Ferradura and Mergulho, Interlagos is a true F1 classic that is popular with drivers and has always produced overtaking and exciting battles.

There may not have been any wet races this season, but in Sao Paulo, rain is almost always a factor at some point during the grand prix weekend. But come rain or shine, the passionate Brazillian fans never fail to generate a carnival atmosphere, making Interlagos the perfect venue for F1?s season finale.

Brazilian Grand Prix team-by-team preview

Red Bull

Mark Webber?s 216th and final grand prix appearance is at a circuit he describes as one of his favourites. Having won here twice before, a third Interlagos victory would be the perfect way for Webber to sign off his F1 career. “I feel ready for Brazil and am looking forward to a bit of a different chapter in the future,” says Webber. “So the time is good for me, one to go and we’ll put on a very good performance, I believe I can do that in Brazil.”

To do that, he will need to overcome the seemingly unstoppable Vettel ?ǣ something Webber has failed to achieve all season. And after the well-documented team orders spat in Malaysia, don?t expect any charitable gestures from one to the other this weekend.

Ferrari

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2010After a seven-season stint with the Scuderia, Felipe Massa will drive his final race for Ferrari at his home circuit. While a win or even a podium seems unlikely, Massa will surely see this weekend as a final opportunity for him to get one over his illustrious team mate.

McLaren

After failing to score a single podium finish for the first time in 33 years, McLaren?s worst season in recent memory finally comes to an end this weekend. Heading to the scene of both the team and Jenson Button?s last victory in 2012, McLaren will be hoping to end this year on a high with a solid points finish for both cars likely the maximum of what they will be able to achieve.

Interlagos is also Sergio Perez?s final race for the McLaren team. Following a solid drive in Austin, more of the same this weekend will be the best way for Perez to show that he deserves a race seat in 2014.

Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Circuit of the Americas, 2013Were it not for Vettel?s incredible run of success, Romain Grosjean may well have taken his first grand prix victory during this final leg of the season. An 18 point deficit to Ferrari in the constructor?s championship may prove too much to overcome in the final race, but Grosjean may well be Vettel?s closest competitor once again this weekend if his outstanding form continues.

It was a difficult return to racing for Heikki Kovalainen in Austin, so a strong points finish would be the best way for him to show that the team made the right decision in choosing him over Davide Valsecchi.

Mercedes

Second place in the constructor?s championship is Mercedes? to lose heading into this final race of the season. With Ferrari having struggled for pace in recent rounds, it seems likely that the team will achieve their best result since returning to F1 as a factory outfit in 2010. A win seems out of reach, but a podium finish will surely be the target for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg this weekend.

??It would be fantastic to achieve second place in the constructor?s championship to give all of the team here and back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth an early Christmas present,?? says Rosberg.

Sauber

Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Interlagos, 2011He may only have raced around Interlagos twice, but Nico Hulkenberg has proved himself as somewhat of a specialist of this 4.3km circuit ?ǣ famously taking pole here in 2010 and leading 30 laps for Force India in mixed conditions last year. With another strong points finish last time out in Austin, Sauber will have high hopes for what their lead driver may be able to achieve this weekend.

Force India

After wiping out in the first lap of the United States GP, Adrian Sutil will want to put the disappointment of Austin behind him and remember the impressive performance he had during his last race at Interlagos in 2011.

??The lap has a very nice flow with a real variation of corners,?? says Sutil. ??There are fast sections, slow corners, elevation changes and off-camber parts of the lap. It may be small, but it has everything you need from a track.??

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Yas Marina, 2013After 18 races Valtteri Bottas secured his first ever world championship points with a well-deserved eighth in Austin, more than tripling Williams? total points tally for the season and lifting him above his team mate. ??I think we will have a good opportunity to finish in the top ten once again in Brazil,?? he says.

For Pastor Maldonado, his final race for the team that gave him his first opportunity in Formula One seems as though it could not come soon enough. At one point during his troubled United States Grand Prix weekend he even suggested his team were deliberately holding him back, comments he later played down.

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo bids farewell to Toro Rosso this weekend ahead of his promotion into Red Bull to fill Webber?s seat next season. He and remaining team mate Jean-Eric Vergne will be hoping for more pace from the STR8 at this final round having scored just one point between the pair of them since the Italian Grand Prix in September.

Caterham

It seems only a miracle or a very bizarre race will allow Caterham the 12th place finish they need to leapfrog Marussia in the constructor?s championship. That will be a tall order, given that the team were beaten by their rivals last weekend, but with a mixed weather forecast for Interlagos, this fight could well go down to the chequered flag as it did in 2012.

Marussia

Just 71 laps separate Marussia from a crucial tenth place finish in the constructor?s championship. And after losing tenth place to their Caterham rivals in desperate fashion here last year, the team will be desperate to ensure they do not suffer the same fate two years in succession.

2013 driver form

Driver G avg R avg R best R worst Classified Form guide
Sebastian Vettel 2.11 1.65 1 4 17/18 Form guide
Mark Webber 5.50 4.67 2 15 15/18 Form guide
Fernando Alonso 6.17 4.12 1 11 17/18 Form guide
Felipe Massa 7.89 7.19 3 15 16/18 Form guide
Jenson Button 10.28 9.39 5 17 18/18 Form guide
Sergio Perez 10.56 10.39 5 20 18/18 Form guide
Kimi Raikkonen 8.35 4.67 1 11 15/17 Form guide
Romain Grosjean 8.22 6.67 2 19 15/18 Form guide
Nico Rosberg 4.39 6.06 1 19 16/18 Form guide
Lewis Hamilton 3.39 4.94 1 12 17/18 Form guide
Nico Hulkenberg 9.61 10.19 4 19 16/17 Form guide
Esteban Gutierrez 16.28 13.31 7 20 16/18 Form guide
Paul di Resta 13.00 10.07 4 20 14/18 Form guide
Adrian Sutil 12.56 11.14 5 20 14/18 Form guide
Pastor Maldonado 16.06 13.47 10 17 15/18 Form guide
Valtteri Bottas 15.00 13.71 8 17 17/18 Form guide
Jean-Eric Vergne 13.67 12.46 6 18 13/18 Form guide
Daniel Ricciardo 10.72 12.33 7 19 15/18 Form guide
Charles Pic 19.94 16.80 14 20 15/18 Form guide
Giedo van der Garde 19.28 17.07 14 21 14/18 Form guide
Jules Bianchi 19.56 17.07 13 20 15/18 Form guide
Max Chilton 20.50 18.11 14 21 18/18 Form guide
Heikki Kovalainen 8.00 14.00 14 14 1/1 Form guide

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Images ?? Red Bull/Getty, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Lotus/LAT, Force India, Williams/LAT

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22 comments on Sao Paulo send-off for Webber and the V8 era

  1. Sumedh said on 21st November 2013, 12:40

    So many things ending in Brazil.

    Webber-Red Bull, Massa-Ferrari, V8 engines, Ricciardo-Toro Rosso.
    An God knows how many of the drivers will race for the last time! Hulk, Perez, Maldonado, Sutil, Di Resta, could be racing their last races and we won’t even know.

    This race genuinely feels like an end of an era. I lest felt this at the end of 2006 when Michael retired.

    But nevertheless, a brilliant era with many close championships in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and some Herculean individual performances (Alonso-2012, Vettel-2013). A lot of controversy across all the years as well. Many intra-team battles (Mclaren 2007, Red Bull 2010). If only thing that could have been better was the ending of this era. But no one will deny that 9 consecutive wins for Vettel was just a damp end of to this era.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 21st November 2013, 13:57

      But no one will deny that 9 consecutive wins for Vettel was just a damp end of to this era

      I’ll deny it and so will lots of others. Why can’t anyone appreciate watching someone rewriting the records, it’s masterful to watch (not that we get to see much of it on TV). I remember sitting down to watch Usain Bolt win the 100m and 200m finals in Beijing in world record times, we knew who was going to win but it didn’t make it any less entertaining. Similarly I enjoyed watching Tiger Woods and Roger Federer (and Sampras before him) without considering those era ‘damp’.

      I’m excited for this weekend; can Vettel break new ground and win his 9th in a row (and leave us guessing whether he can extend that run at the start of 2014) – that would be great to watch. Can Webber secure one last win and thwart Vettel – the assumptions are that he won’t but with the car at his disposal he has a better chance than anyone else – that would also be exciting. Will rain or other factors bring us another outcome, Jenson snatching a last gasp podium to redeem McLaren’s year, a first victory for Grosjean, what could turn out to be Massa’s last win or maybe another surprise from the Hulk – all exciting prospects.

      I love these back-to-back F1 fixtures and for me regardless of DRS, tyres and other gimmicks that I don’t personally like, every race brings excitement and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt the need to tell everyone on here that I’ve fallen asleep during a race or made a threat that I’m about to stop watching F1. The anticipation in the build up and through practice sessions, the battle during qualifying, the race and then the days of post race analysis and comment. It’s not another consecutive win for Vettel that I’m dreading, but the four months without an F1 race before the 2014 contenders hit the track in anger.

      At least there’s Christmas and pre-season testing to provide some sustenance over winter.

      • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 21st November 2013, 14:52

        @jerseyf1 Actually the best thing about the f1 race sadly is the excitement of the start and build up to the race . Yes , I do fall asleep and don’t have any qualms about stating it as the races are boring . But , Brazil is something of a different race , always .

      • Oli Littlejohn (@olilittlejohn) said on 21st November 2013, 22:47

        +1

        The reason people see these as boring is simply due to the fact that in this specific sport domination is slightly boring… If you saw someone win 9 consecutive football matches or 9 consecutive tennis matches it wouldn’t be called boring because you can actually see the team / individual beating their opponent whereas F1 is not only decided on the track, it is done through the garages and the background staff as well there is something of a boring connotation with the current streak he is on. It is my opinion that it is pretty epic to watch right now although for selfish reasons I would much rather he didn’t win on Sunday! Massa, Webber & Button / Perez on the podium would be lovely (we can but dream!)

  2. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 21st November 2013, 12:41

    Come on Ferrari, do the right thing, give Felipe some Brazilian overalls for his last race for the Scuderia!

  3. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 21st November 2013, 14:20

    Personally, and this may be controversial, but I for one won’t miss the V8’s. I wasn’t a fan of the V8’s initially, I like so many others longed for the sensuous V10’s and V12’s and even the raspy V6 turbos to come back. But I got used to the V8’s, I appreciated the technical challenges the manufacturers had to overcome to build them (the vibration being the main one) and I loved the quest for ever increasing revs and power. It signified everything that F1 is about: Rule makers trying to stymie progress and engineers saying finding ways to claw back what they had lost. When Cosworth managed to hit 20,000 rpm my mind was blown. But then came the engine freeze, the 19,000 rpm rev limit and then, the sin of sins, the 18,000 rpm rev limit. They engine just wasn’t a factor in the sport anymore and I was, and still am, sad. Just knowing they are being artificially reigned in, it just spoils it for me. Sure the 2.4 V8 has turned out to be a flexible engine, no one could have predicted exhaust blown diffusers and KERS when they were designed, but that doesn’t redeem them for me. Many people say the noise of the V8’s will be missed, but say what you want about it, compared to the way they sound when they are at the 20,000 rpm that they can produce, listening to them at 18,000 rpm just doesn’t cut it.

    Bye bye V8’s, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  4. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 21st November 2013, 14:26

    Even reading this article, I’m starting to get that melancholic feeling whenever the chequered flag drops at the end of the season. Vettel may have dominated, and I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2014 but the winter months are so long without F1. The melancholy will be accentuated by seeing Webber retire and Massa leave Ferrari, and the last time we’ll hear the V8’s. End of an era in many ways!

  5. Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 21st November 2013, 14:47

    I just love this season ending Grand prix . Such is the beauty of Brazil that as Keith points out , even if there is no championship to decide , everybody has something to prove :
    WEB : Final F1 race
    VET : The record
    LH: 3rd place in WDC
    BUT: Podium to end the horrible season
    PER: Fight for a seat
    GRO: Look for the elusive win
    HEI: Look for points
    MERC: confirm 2nd in WCC
    SAUBER , FI : maximize points
    The game is afoot ..

  6. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 21st November 2013, 15:08

    At last we’ll finally move from the 2007 spec engines ! I hate homologation and development freezes… we’ll get the same next year, but at least we’ll start with something new to look (and hear) at !

  7. medman (@medman) said on 21st November 2013, 20:17

    I will reserve judgement until I hear what the turbo 6’s sound like, but I would prefer a move back to v-10’s or 12’s than the move back down the cylinder ladder.

  8. f1fan said on 22nd November 2013, 1:12

    Webber is ” … one of the most successful F1 drivers” ??? That’s a joke, right ? 11 seasons, 13 poles, 9 wins, and most of that came in an RBR car far ahead of everyone else’s. Webber is a mediocre driver, no more, no less. Can’t manage a race, makes dumb mistakes, crashes too often, is temperamental and can’t get off the line well. He is behind not only Vettel, but also Alonso (in that turtle-slow red car), and Lewis and Kimi. Longevity doesn’t mean success.

    • FanatikosF1 (@fanatikosf1) said on 22nd November 2013, 10:38

      “…one of the grid’s most popular and successful drivers” that’s what Keith said! He didn’t suggest he is one of the most successful F1 drivers of all time as I’m guessing you are!

    • Strontium (@strontium) said on 22nd November 2013, 19:29

      11 seasons is a lot more than most drivers. Hardly anybody has ever held a single pole, or claimed a race win as their own, or even a podium. He has 41 podiums. That’s not a small feat. He came within a race of the world championship. That is something special.

      Of course, he has been beaten by others, but we cannot take away what he has achieved in this tight competition. He has proven himself.

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