Brazil held its first round of the world championship in 1973 at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo.
The venue remains part of the Formula One calendar and although it is now considerably shorter than the original track, much of the character of the old circuit is still present, as are the vocal and enthusiastic Brazilian fans.
Interlagos measured almost 8km in length when Emerson Fittipaldi treated the crowd to a home victory at their first world championship race.
The Jacarepagua circuit in Rio de Janeiro took over as Brazil’s home of F1 throughout most of the eighties, but the sport returned to Sao Paulo in 1990 on a truncated circuit which travels in the opposition direction to the old course at one point.
The configuration has altered little since then, besides minor re-profiling to some corners and changes to the run-off areas as seen at other tracks.
Interlagos track views
I like this track, even though it’s very short, because if you tackle it properly, it’s great fun to drive. [In 2014] the track was resurfaced and the grip level was high, something drivers always like as it means you can be more aggressive.
The fact it’s a short track doesn’t mean it’s easy to set up the car. There are many factors to take into consideration, not least of which is the weather.
I don’t think I’ve ever done [a great lap], so I’ve got no secrets. What I have learned is that you shouldn’t think ahead too much. You have to take it cornerby corner and concentrate on the one you’re in. There’s not many that you string together. There’s not many corners full stop.
Brazil’s a wonderful grand prix with a great atmosphere in an exciting city but the track doesn’t really do it for me. There’s just not a corner that gives you any real satisfaction. I don’t want to make it sound dull, because it isn’t, but like Russia, there isn’t a corner that makes you go ‘Woo-hoo’. It needs a few more corners and something really high speed.
There’s a couple that look good on paper but because of the cambers, you never really have the grip to go barrelling in. The crowd really gets your heart-rate up before the sessions, so you want to be really on it but instead have to be very patient.
It is a tricky circuit to find the right set-up. The middle sector is very twisty with a lot of low speed turns and then the final sector which is essentially a long uphill corner on to a very long straight. You rely on strong engine power and delivery for the straight. You need a nice stable car for the twisty mid-section where a driver wants a strong turn-in without much understeer, and you want strong traction on exit after a balanced mid-section.
The compromise on how to run on downforce is quite challenging. You want to take downforce off for the last sector but then want it on for the other sectors. We tend to rely on where the simulation suggests will be the best compromise. We normally don’t run on full downforce.
Nick Chester, Lotus technical director
|Lap length||4.309km (2.677 miles)|
|Race distance||305.909km (190.083 miles)|
|Pole position||Right-hand side of the track|
|Lap record*||1’11.473 (Juan Pablo Montoya, 2004)|
|Fastest lap||1’09.822 (Rubens Barrichello, 2004, qualifying one)|
|Maximum speed||310kph (192.625 mph)|
|DRS zone/s (race)||Pit straight and Reta Oposta straight|
|Distance from grid to turn one||334m|
|Longest flat-out section||1394m|
|Gear changes per lap||42|
|Fuel use per lap||1.35kg|
|Time penalty per lap of fuel||0.042s|
|Pit lane time loss||18.5s|
|2015 prime tyre:||Medium (2014: Medium)|
|2015 option tyre:||Soft (2014: Soft)|
*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix
Data sources: FIA, Williams, Mercedes