There have been two iterations of the Interlagos circuit, home to this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2016 Formula One Championship season. When it first hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1973, it was a 7.960km/4.946-mile roller-coaster ride around the side of the natural bowl in which the track is located.
It was shortened and modernised following a $15 million injection in the late ’80s and the current layout has staged the Brazilian Grand Prix every year since 1990.
While it may be one of the shortest tracks on the calendar, the 4.3km Autódromo José Carlos Pace presents a number of challenges as it combines a long sweeping start/finish straight with a tricky infield section. Therefore, choosing the perfect setup compromise is paramount to getting a good result come Sunday afternoon.
The proximity of surrounding roads and houses means it hasn’t been possible to push back the barriers as far as might be conventional at a new circuit, however there is ample run-off at the fastest points on the lap – on the approaches to Turns One and Four.
For McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, the atmosphere at this venue is second to none and he can’t wait to get down to business tomorrow…
“Sitting on the grid ahead of the race is one of those unique Formula 1 sensations: the crowd seems to loom over you; really in your face, very close. The atmosphere and intensity are always amazing,” he said.
“I think every racing driver enjoys racing at Interlagos. It’s obviously a special place, and we saw at the last race just how important it is to have packed grandstands full of passionate fans – and Brazil is no different. For such a short lap, the track has a great flow.”
‘From the moment you cross the start-finish line, you plunge into the esses and then sweep down into the bottom of the venue’s natural bowl. Even with a couple of hairpins, it doesn’t really feel like any of the corners interrupt the flow around here, which means that, at the end of each lap, you’re already fully committed to attacking it again. I love this place.”
After a disappointing weekend in Mexico last time out Alonso will be looking to bounce back in Brazil…
“One of our aims will be to make the most of practice and qualifying, and give ourselves the best chance of maintaining a better position during the race.”