As we head into the penultimate round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship where Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg could win his first ever driver’s championship, we take a look at the Interlagos circuit and all it has to offer…
Track name: Autódromo José Carlos Pace - Interlagos
Total number of race laps: 71
Complete race distance: 305.909 kilometers (190.083 miles)
Pit lane speed limit: 80 kph (50 mph)
Pitlane length: 380m/0.236 miles, estimated time loss 21s
First race: 1973
Circuit length: 4.309km/2.677 miles (3rd shortest of the season)
Circuit Direction: Anti-clockwise
Distance to Turn One: 190m/0.118 miles (longest of the season: Mexico, 800m/0.497 miles)
Longest straight: 650m/0.404 miles, on the approach to the Turn One
Top speed: 325km/h/202mph, on the approach to Turn One
Full throttle: 60 per cent
DRS zones: Two, on the approach to Turns One and Four
Key corner: Turn 12, Junção. A third-gear left-hander that’s taken at 130km/h (81mph). It’s crucial to get the power down cleanly because the long, uphill drag to the finish-line follows, at the end of which is one of the best overtaking points on the lap
Fastest corner: 257km/h (160mph), Turn Five
Slowest corner: 72km/h (45mph), Turn 10
Fuel consumption: 1.49kg per lap, which is low
ERS demands: High. There are several places around the lap where ERS deployment is crucial, but there are only two heavy braking zones in which to regain energy under braking
Brake wear: Low. There are six braking zones around the lap, but only two of them are heavy. Just 15 per cent of the lap is spent braking
Gear changes: 42 per lap/2,982 per race
2015 winner: Nico Rosberg, 71 laps, 1:31:09.090s
2015 pole position: Nico Rosberg,1m11.282s
2015 fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton, 1m14.832s (lap 51)
Major changes for 2016: None, except for maintenance work
The Autódromo José Carlos Pace has hosted Formula One since 1973, first on a 7.960 kilometer (4.946-mile) layout and later on a 7.873-kilometer (4.892-mile) course from 1979 through 1999 before a massive reconfiguration in advance of the 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix shortened the track to its current 4.309-kilometer (2.677-mile), 15-turn layout. Last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix served as the venue’s 33rd grand prix.
Juan Pablo Montoya holds the race lap record at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace (1:11.473), set in 2004 with Williams. Rubens Barrichello holds the qualifying lap record (1:09.822), set in 2004 with Scuderia Ferrari in Q1.
The Autódromo José Carlos Pace is the setting for one of the shortest laps of the year, but also one of the most intense. The undulating course is a challenge for drivers and teams. It’s run anticlockwise and consists of a twisty infield portion between turns six through 12 with three long straights between turns three and four, between turns five and six, and off turn 14 down the frontstretch before the beginning of the Senna “S” in turn one.
Maximum downforce would be preferred through the tight and twisting section, but in order to maximize the straights, cars need to be trimmed out with as little drag as possible. Some downforce is already lost before a wheel is even turned, as the track sits 800 meters (2,625 feet) above sea level. All of this puts grip at a premium on the relatively bumpy surface. Pirelli has brought its P Zero Orange hard, White medium and Yellow soft tires to Brazil, with the mediums and especially the softs expected to get the lion’s share of the work.
Did you know…..
…that the traditional name of the circuit, Interlagos, comes from the track being built in a region between two large artificial lakes, the Guarapiranga and Billings, which were designed in the early 20th century to supply São Paulo with drinking water and energy power? In 1985, the speedway was renamed the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in honor of Pace, a Brazilian racecar driver who died in a plane crash in 1977. Pace’s first and only Formula One victory came at Interlagos.
During the course of the Brazilian Grand Prix, lows will range from 15-17 degrees Celsius (59-62 degrees Fahrenheit) to highs of 21-25 degrees Celsius (70-77 degrees Fahrenheit). Relative humidity ranges from 55 percent (mildly humid) to 98 percent (very humid), with a dew point varying from 14 degrees Celsius/58 degrees Fahrenheit (comfortable) to 19 degrees Celsius/67 degrees Fahrenheit (muggy). The dew point is rarely below 11 degrees Celsius/51 degrees Fahrenheit (very comfortable) or above 22 degrees Celsius/72 degrees Fahrenheit (very muggy). Typical wind speeds vary from 3-21 kph/2-13 mph (light air to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 29 kph/18 mph (fresh breeze).
Drivers will need to watch out for…
….changeable weather conditions. Should it rain, the undulating nature of the circuit means rivers form very quickly at various points around the lap. The depth of water is particularly bad at the exit of Turn Three, where lots of cars have spun off in the past.
A lap around the circuit ….
You arrive into turn one and braking is a little bit uphill with the apex coming into a downhill section with very nice braking. Coming down into turn two you are trying to put down the throttle to go flat for turn three. Then down into turn four it is a hard braking, 90-degree corner were you have to let the car roll. Then come into turns six and seven, which is completely uphill – a very high-speed corner to the right, very nice corner where you really go deep and throw the car into the corner.
You exit uphill approaching turn eight – a corner where you can use a lot of curbs almost like a kind of a hairpin. Then you have a 180-degree corner to the left which is turn nine, downhill with a bit of banking which makes it very nice. Then you have turn 10, which is almost like a hairpin again and with a bit of banking. Then you exit down to turn 11 were you’re trying to be flat out putting down the throttle. Coming down the hill to turn 12 – the last real corner of the lap, which is a left-hand, 90-degree corner where you’re trying to get the best exit possible to use it for the uphill straight.