Brazilian Grand Prix – Preview

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Brazil, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagosbr

Formula One heads for the iconic venue of Sao Paulo, Brazil for the second-to-last Grand Prix weekend of the 2017 Championship Season. The F1 field touches down in Sao Paulo where the Interlagos race tracks plays host to the 19th round of the season.

The name ‘Interlagos’ means ‘between seas’ which refers to the geographical location of the circuit. The Brazilian Grand Prix has been held 44 times so far over its history.


The origins of racing in Brazil trace back to the times before World War II. The first important races were held on the Gavea circuit in Rio de Janeiro starting in 1934. Two years later, the construction of the first permanent circuit began in Sao Paulo. The work lasted six years and was finished in 1940. The stock car-tyre touring car races quickly became popular while the Sao Paulo track gained a reputation soon after its first races.

On the back of the successes of the Mexico and American Grand Prix and the emergence of the young talent Emerson Fittipaldi, the city officials wanted to organize a Formula 1 race in Brazil. To convince the FIA that the Sao Paulo track has all the necessary ingredients required for a Grand Prix, the first Brazil GP was held in 1972. It was, however, a non-championship event.
In 1973, the Brazil Grand Prix was first included in the official calendar and was won by the defending champion and Sao Paulo native Emerson Fittipaldi. The next two race saw two further events dominated by Brazilians: in 1973 it was Emerson Fittipaldi who scored the win while in the following year Carlos Pace was victorious in his Brabham-Ford.
In 1977, drivers started complaining about the track surface which was very rough. The Brazilian GP was relocated to the new Jacarepagua circuit in Rio de Janeiro in 1978. The race was won by the Argentine Carlos Reutemann in his Ferrari.

Formula One returned to Sao Paulo for 1979 and 1980. Brazilian fans lobbied to host the Brazilian GP on the flat Jacarepagua circuit near Rio de Janeiro because that was the home town of the emerging talent Nelson Piquet. On top of that, Emerson Fittipaldi who was Sao Paulo native retired from the Moving Circus.

The Brazilian GPs between 1981 and 1989 were all held in Jacarepagua. The Frenchman Alain Prost won an astonishing five times and became the king of that very demanding circuit. The Brazilians also had to be excited about as the home hero Nelson Piquet won in 1983 and 1986, first driving for Brabham, then for Williams.

In 1990, Formula One returned to a shortened Interlagos, where it has stayed since. The Sao Paulo circuit has created some of the most exciting and memorable races in recent Formula One history, and is regarded as one of the most challenging and exciting circuits on the GP calendar.

Since its return to Sao Paulo, Brazilians could witness the win of a home hero four times. In 1991 and 1993 Ayrton Senna won in his McLaren. After a long draught, Felipe Massa managed to claim victories in front of the adoring Brazilian fans: in 2006 and 2008, the Sao Paulo native won for Ferrari.


Brazil is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. As the world's fifth-largest country by area and sixth by population, it is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in America. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometres It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area.

The capital of Brazil is Brasília while Sao Paulo is the largest city.

Brazil which is said to be a poor-rich country has a population of 208.064.000 inhabitants to the 2017 estimation. The currency is the Brazilian Real. Regarding the ethnic groups, 47 per cent is white, 43 per cent mixed race, 7 per cent is black and the remaining is Asian and Amerindian. Two religions are defining in Brazil: 65 per cent of the population are Catholic and 22 per cent are Protestant.

Most successful drivers and teams

The most successful team is McLaren with its 12 victories. Ferrari won 10 times, Williams 6 times while Red Bull 4 times. Mercedes scored three victories while Brabham, Benetton and Renault each won two times.

Alain Prost is the record winner at Sao Paolo. The Frenchman won six times. Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher crossed the finish line first four times. Among the two-time Brazilian GP winners are Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson, Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Mika Häkkinen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Nigel Mansell and Mark Webber.

Track characteristics

In Sao Paolo drivers travel anti clock-wise. The length of the circuit is 4.309m which is one of the shortest laps on the current F1 calendar. The race distance of 305.909km stretches over 71 race laps.

A less rapid start has got not necessarily lasting consequences as the distance from the first row to the first corner is only 190m. Drivers apply the brakes six times during a lap, three of them are heavy braking zones.

The circuit is made up by 15 bends, 10 of them are left-handed ones. The track has a wide variety of corners in terms of cornering speed. The speed exceeds the 250km/h limit in two bends while the speed drops below the 100km/h border in two turns.

The highest speed is achieved at the end of the start-finish straight and it is around 315km/h. The track has a stop-and-go nature which means that full-throttle sections are cut by predominantly slower corners. Driver spend around 70 per cent of the lap at full throttle. The longest full-throttle section which lasts 16 seconds is the start-finish part of the track.
Drivers change gears 42 times during the short lap which puts a huge demand on the gearboxes over the GP distance.