This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix will bring down the curtain on the 2.4-litre V8 era of Grand Prix racing, which has been a familiar part of Formula 1 since 2006.
It will also bring down the curtain on Mark Webber’s Grand Prix career, with the Australian veteran electing to head Porsche’s return to LMP1 endurance racing next year.
So will the Aussie be able to claim a tenth career win in his final F1 hit-out, or will his teammate Sebastian Vettel dominate proceedings once again and claim a record-equalling ninth successive win?
FORMULA 1 GRANDE PRÊMIO DO BRASIL 2013
|Date:||22-24 November 2013|
|Venue:||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil|
|Race Lap Record:||1:11.473, Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams BMW FW26) – 2004|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 10:00-11:30|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 14:00-15:30|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 11:00-12:00|
|Race (71 laps, 305.909km)||Sun 14:00-16:00|
|Past Ten Winners:||Jenson Button (McLaren Mercedes MP4-27)||2012|
|Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing Renault RB7)||2011|
|Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing Renault RB6)||2010|
|Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing Renault RB5)||2009|
|Felipe Massa (Ferrari F2008)*||2008|
|Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari F2007)*||2007|
|Felipe Massa (Ferrari F2006)*||2006|
|Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren Mercedes MP4-20)||2005|
|Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams BMW FW26)||2004|
|Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan Ford EJ13)||2003|
* Denotes victory from pole position
All event times are quoted in Brazilian Standard Time (GMT -2).
Of all of the venues being visited in the 2013 season, there are few crowds – with the possible exceptions of those at Monza and Silverstone – who are as passionate as those who cram into the dilapidated grandstands at São Paulo’s Interlagos circuit each year.
And the Brazilian fans have certainly had plenty of heroes to cheer over the years, with the likes of Carlos Pace, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa achieving considerable success on the international motorsport stage.
The São Paulo circuit has played host to Formula 1 since the 1970s – albeit in a much longer configuration than today – but it fell out of favour when the (sadly duller) Jacarepaguá circuit opened in Rio de Janeiro.
Despite the more interesting location in Rio, the flat high-speed circuit didn’t pose the same challenge that Interlagos did, with races at Rio often being more of an economy run than an action-packed event.
And so the circus moved back to a truncated Interlagos layout in 1990 and it has remained there ever since.
Despite its third world facilities that somehow seem to escape criticism each year in the face of far superior amenities almost everywhere else on the F1 calendar, Interlagos has an ‘other worldly’ charm that makes it a popular venue for the Formula 1 travelling circus.
A terribly bumpy, anticlockwise circuit, the track is physically demanding due to its layout and elevation changes, which place great strain on driver fitness and mechanical reliability. A well-balanced set-up – one that offers good grip in the twisty sections without compromising top speed on the straights – proves to be a difficult compromise to reach here when setting up a Formula 1 car.
Being in a tropical climate, weather is often a factor at the track, which features a well-used passing point at the braking point to Turn 1, and a less-used spot at Turn 4, the Reta Oposta left-hander at the end of the back straight.
Let’s take a look at our video preview of Interlagos (and you’ll hear my puppy playing in the background of the recording!):
São Paulo Stat Attack
Here are some fast facts about this year’s Brazilian Grand Prix:
- This year’s race is the 41st in Brazilian Grand Prix history. Of the previous forty, thirty have been held at Interlagos and ten at Jacarepaguá in Rio de Janiero.
The Interlagos circuit is formally known as the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in honour of 1975 race winner Carlos Pace (pictured below right), who was tragically killed in a light aircraft crash in 1977. The Interlagos circuit was renamed in his honour.
Following a non-championship Brazilian Grand Prix in 1972 (won by Carlos Reutemann), the first World Championship certified race occurred in 1973. Fittingly, it was won by local hero Emerson Fittipaldi, who successfully defended his win the following year as well.
The original Interlagos layout was 7.960km long. Since 1990, the race has been run on the shortened version of the circuit which is, after a few minor alterations, now 4.309km in length, making it the second-shortest circuit on the calendar after Monaco.
Interlagos is one of five completely anticlockwise circuits on the 2013 calendar. The others are Singapore, Korea, Abu Dhabi and the United States (with its figure of eight layout, you could argue that Suzuka runs both clockwise and anticlockwise).
Brazil has produced thirty drivers who have started at least one Grand Prix. Of the thirty, three have won the World Championship title (Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna) and six have won races (Fittipaldi, Senna, Piquet, Carlos Pace, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa). Barrichello is the only one of the six Brazilian race winners not to have won his home Grand Prix.
All five of the world champions that have competed in the 2013 season – Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel – have clinched one or more of their World Championship crowns at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Of this year’s title-winners, Lewis Alonso and Hamilton are yet to actually win the Brazilian Grand Prix, however.
Alain Prost is the most successful driver in Brazilian Grand Prix history, having won six races in the country (five of them came at Jacarepaguá). Of the current grid, Felipe Massa and Mark Webber each have two wins at Interlagos, while Kimi Räikkönen, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button all have one.
In terms of manufacturers, McLaren have the most wins in Brazil with 12 to Ferrari’s 10 and Williams’ 6, although Red Bull Racing has won three of the last four races at Interlagos. Brabham, Benetton and Renault are the only teams to have won the Brazilian Grand Prix on more than one occasion.
Ayrton Senna holds the record for most Brazilian Grand Prix pole positions with six, including four in a row from 1988 to 1991. Local hero Felipe Massa is the most successful qualifier of this year’s crop, claiming three pole positions.
Pole position at Interlagos is a relatively poor guarantee of winning the race. In the venue’s thirty years hosting the Grand Prix, the pole-winning driver has won just ten times.
The worst qualifying position from which any driver has won the Brazilian Grand Prix is eighth. That was in the famous 2003 race, which was red-flagged after persistent wet weather caused sections of the track to flood. The race winner was eventually declared to be Giancarlo Fisichella, but it took several days for the final classification to be decided. Kimi Räikkönen – who had originally been declared the winner – handed over the race-winning trophy to Fisichella at the following Grand Prix in San Marino.
Jenson Button will start his 247th Grand Prix on Sunday, moving him to fifth outright on the all-time starters’ list. In doing so, he will eclipse David Coulthard’s tally of 246 starts and become the most experienced British Formula 1 driver in the sport’s history.
Sunday’s Grand Prix will be Mark Webber’s 215th and final Grand Prix start. The Australian will end his career ninth overall on the current all-time starters’ list
Victory for Sebastian Vettel will give the German a record-equalling thirteenth race win in a single season. He will match the same tally of race wins claimed by Michael Schumacher in the 2004 season, which had 18 races in comparison to this year’s 19-race schedule. It would also be the ninth consecutive win for Vettel, drawing him level with the all-time record held by Alberto Ascari, who was undefeated between the 1952 and 1953 Belgian Grands Prix.
The Form Guide
The odds of another Sebastian Vettel win are looking pretty solid this weekend. The German ace has won eight on the trot, and another win here would see him equal the run of nine wins that has stood for sixty years. It would also be his thirteenth win of the season, putting him level with the tally achieved by Michael Schumacher in the all-conquering Ferrari in 2004.
Again, his closest challenge is like to come from Webber, who will be eager to sign off his Formula 1 career in style with one last visit to the top step of the podium. Two of the veteran’s nine career wins have come at Interlagos, so he certainly knows his way around the 4.3-kilometre circuit.
Fernando Alonso’s fifth-placed finish at the United States Grand Prix was enough to guarantee him runner-up position in the Drivers’ Championship standings for the third time in his F1 career (he managed the same in 2010 and 2012).
That means the big battles in the championship tables will be for which driver can claim third place in the overall standings. Lewis Hamilton leads the fight on 187 points with Mark Webber on 181 – Kimi Räikkönen is sandwiched in the middle, but won’t be able to add to his tally on account of his surgery-induced absence this weekend.
The battle will also heat up in the Constructors’ Championship standings, with Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus all in contention for second overall. Mercedes has its nose in front with 348 points to Ferrari’s 333, while Lotus is an outside chance with 315 points.
Such has been Vettel’s dominance in his Red Bull that the final points tally for the runner-up spot is still going to look rather embarrassing: having scored 372 points all on his own, Vettel has single-handedly taken the team to victory in the Constructors’ Championship standings. The only way that statistic could be overturned would be if Mercedes claimed at least 25 points this weekend and Vettel failed to score!
While Lotus’ more realistic ambition would be to snatch third place from Ferrari, the man who will lead that cause – Romain Grosjean – would also have to be considered an outside chance of victory this weekend. The Frenchman is on course to score his seventh podium in the last eight outings, and has earned plenty of plaudits for his pace and discipline this year. That maiden win cannot continue to prove elusive forever.
Further down the pecking order, Force India and Sauber will have one last hit-out to determine who claims sixth in the Constructors’ Championship standings. Force India currently leads the way with 77 points to Sauber’s 53, but the second half of the season reads 49-18 in favour of Sauber.
With wet weather forecast to have an impact on proceedings, the tropical conditions could throw up some surprise results and give plenty of drivers and teams the ideal conditions in which to deliver a giant-killing performance.
Don’t forget to enter your F1 Predictions!
The final round of the 2013 RichardsF1.com F1 Predictions Competition is now open, and you can enter your predictions for the race right here to be in the running for the grand prize at the end of the year!
The cut-off to submit your predictions is no later than five minutes before qualifying starts, so make sure you’re in it to win it!
You can view the latest Predictions Competition ranking right here.
The final round sees up to 100 points on offer for each entrant, meaning that a whole host of our regular entrants could come out on top in the final reckoning.
Entrants yet to use their their last ‘double up’ feature will automatically have it applied at the final round of the championship provided they enter their predictions per the competition rules. So if you score a perfect round and you haven’t used your ‘Double Up’, that’s almost fifty points in the bag!
Those who were registered to play at the start of the season were also asked to nominate the driver and team who would win the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships, respectively. The following additional points will be included in the Brazilian Grand Prix points if their guesses are as follows:
- 25 points each if their nominated driver or constructor wins the 2013 championship
- 18 points each if their nominated driver or constructor finishes in second place
- 15 points each if their nominated driver or constructor finishes in third place; and
- A bonus 10 points if their nominated driver and constructor wins both titles
To enter your Brazilian Grand Prix predictions, click here.
As always, RichardsF1.com will be bringing you the best of the on- and off-track action this weekend, so make sure we’re your first port of call for your Brazilian Grand Prix fix!