The season’s penultimate race sees drivers and teams travel to Brazil, home of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Round 21 of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó picks out some key facts ahead of the race that takes place at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
Long history – Today’s race will be the 49th Formula One race to be held in Brazil and the second ever to be named Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Of the 48 F1 races held in Brazil so far, 38 grands prix took place at Interlagos. The other ten were staged at Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarepagua circuit in two stints (1978 and 1981-1989).
The inaugural race - The Formula One World Championship first visited Brazil back in 1973 with a non-championship event held in the previous year. The inaugural race was staged at the Interlagos circuit which was designed and developed by an Englishman, Loius S. Sanson and opened its gates in 1940.
The importance of the first row - The pole man has only won here at Interlagos a total of 16 times out of 38 starts. Considering the statistics from the past six years, the importance of starting the Brazil F1 race from the first row has significantly grown. In the hybrid era, five races have been won by the pole man. This series was only broken by Sebastian Vettel who won at Interlagos in 2017 after starting from the second place. In contradiction to it, Hamilton won from P10 last year.
Mercedes stronghold– Since the hybrid power units were introduced in Formula One, the Mercedes squad has won every race but two. In 2014 and 2015, it was Nico Rosberg who came out on top at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix. The next year saw his then-teammate Lewis Hamilton securing the victory which the Briton repeated in 2018 and last year.
One of the two non-Mercedes triumphs came in 2017 when Sebastian Vettel put in a heroic performance to fend off the faster Mercedes cars to secure his third Brazilian Grand Prix victory. The other occasion when Mercedes was defeated in Brazil was in 2019 with Max Verstappen crossing the finish line first.
The French driver - Alain Prost holds the record for most wins in Brazil with six. Michael Schumacher is the second most successful driver in the history of the Brazilian Grand Prix. The German won on four occasions of which he took two victories for Benetton while he was victorious with Ferrari twice. Carlos Reutemann, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel share the third place on this list with three wins apiece.
The Brazilian stars - Home heros Felipe Massa, Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet all have two victories on their home turf.
A short one - The Autodromo José Carlos Pace is one of the shortest tracks on the current Grand Prix calendar. Drivers will need to complete 71 laps in total on the 4.309km race circuit to cover the entire race distance of 305.909km.
Overtaking - There’s plenty of scope for overtaking: the long run uphill, through a left kink and over the start finish line, leads into a good overtaking spot right at Turn 1. Another long straight follows the spectacular section of Turns 1-3 that is referred to as Senna Esses, providing another overtaking opportunity as drivers need to brake hard into Turn 4.
The important numbers – As common, drivers have to adhere to a speed limit of 80kph in the race while driving through the pit lane. The start and the finish line are not identical with an offset of 30m lying between them.
The Finnish record-keeper – Valtteri Bottas holds the record for the fastest ever race lap at Interlagos. The Finn recorded a 1m10.540 in 2018 to set a new lap record around the undulating, twisting circuit. However, the fastest ever lap belongs to his current teammate Lewis Hamilton who set a lap time of 1m07.281 on his way to secure the pole position for the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Small changes – At the end of the run-off area in Turn 1 a section of modular concrete barrier and tyre barriers has been installed. Between Turns 6 and 7, on the left side, a new guardrail has been installed in the run-off area. Following the creation of a new public area between Turns 10 and 14, new guardrails and fencing have been installed. Furthermore, on the right side of the Main Straight new surface grooves have been cut to mitigate aquaplaning
The usual configuration – There will be two DRS zones in today’s race at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. The first zone has a detection point at the apex of Turn 2 and activation 30m after Turn 3. The second zone has a detection point 30m after Turn 13 and activation 160m before Turn 15.