After two thrilling races in the US and Mexico, the Sao Paulo Grand Prix is the final destination of the last triple header of the 2023 F1 season. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó delivers the vital stats, trivia and facts ahead of the Sao Paulo F1 round.
Long history – Today’s race will be the 50th Formula One race to be held in Brazil and the third ever to be named Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Of the 49 F1 races held in Brazil so far, 38 grands prix took place at Interlagos. The other eleven 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 poleman has only won here at Interlagos a total of 17 times out of 39 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, six races have been won by the poleman. 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 in 2021.
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 2021. Last year's Sao Paulo Grand Prix marked George Russell's first F1 victory.
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.
Pole position - Ayrton Senna holds the record for most pole positions in Brazil with six - three at Jacarepagua and three at Sao Paulo. Lewis Hamilton has the most pole positions of any current F1 driver.
As far as vital pole positions are concerned, Kevin Magnussen scored his first, and to date, only F1 pole position in Sao Paulo last year, claiming the first starting place for Saturday's Sprint.
Four other current drivers have pole positions here: Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas, and Max Verstappen.
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.
Important changes – The TecPro barriers at the exit of Turn 1 on the right-hand side have been replaced with new tyres covered with a conveyor belt. The track has been resurfaced from the entry of Turn 6 to the exit of Turn 7 in a 5.5m wide layer on the right-hand side. Between Turn 9 and Turn 10 on the right-hand side, a new guardrail has been installed, while between Turn 10 and Turn 11 on the left-hand side, a new FIA-specification fence has been installed behind the guardrail. Moreover, all artificial grass has been renewed.
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.