It’s really hard to believe that we are into the final race of the season, this is arguably one of the best seasons of Formula 1 in the recent years and as we head into the final race of the season, the focus is clearly on two drivers fighting for their third world title and this race promises to have plenty of excitement as there are too many permutations and combinations that is in-front of these two drivers for them to clinch their title.
“The track itself is also quite tricky. It's pretty narrow in parts and you need to make sure you get your lines right or it's very easy to make a mistake” - Heikki Kovalainen
“The layout has some interesting parts and the fact that it goes up and down makes it quite spectacular” - Narain Karthikeyan
“Although the surface is very rough, Interlagos won’t consume a lot of tyres: the corners aren’t so fast and it won’t place as many demands on them as Suzuka, for example” - Lucas di Grassi
Interlagos is a track that is loved by the engineers, drivers and the entire F1 universe. After racing through the new age tracks, Interlagos is always a fitting end to the season as it represents a classic heritage of Formula 1 which has seen many exciting races in the past.
“Technically the Brazil track is pretty interesting. You need to have really good traction to power out of the slower corners and you need to make sure you have the setup right for the long flat-out run from the last corner, past the pits and into turn one, giving you a chance to pass other cars as you head towards the start of another lap” - Vitaly Petrov
“It is a mix of two high-speed sectors, a fast combination at the end of the long straight and then the infield where you need a lot of stability and grip. There are a couple of low-speed corners as well, but also combinations where you have lateral and longitudinal acceleration. There the car needs a good balance. The middle sector is very technical, but in the other two sectors you need speed” - Giampaolo Dall’Ara
Apart from the track layout, Interlagos is known for the affectionate fans. All the teams enjoy a good support from the fans who are known to be passionate and knowledgeable of the sport.
“...the fans are always very enthusiastic” - Eric Boullier
“The fans are incredibly passionate about Formula One, they're very knowledgeable and the turn the whole weekend into a giant party in the stands. It's pretty cool on Sunday when you're on the gird and all the stands are bouncing - it really is a cool place to race F1 cars” - Heikki Kovalainen
“The atmosphere is very Latin American and the fans are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the world” - Pastor Maldonado
“The race in Brazil is always a very special Grand Prix, not only because of the track’s layout but also for the Formula One history and the fans” - Pedro de la Rosa
“It’s always special to race in front of the Brazilian fans because they are so enthusiastic about motorsport” - Kamui Kobayashi
The track has hosted many of the exciting races in the past, some of them have decided the fate of the championships and one person who in recent years was a part of these championship battle is Lewis Hamilton. Lewis Hamilton was part of the title fight in 2007 and in 2008 and the latter is more memorable to many. The amount of excitement that was in the air until the race end was immense and many can easy recall the delight that the Ferrari camp went through and also that famous moment where the Ferrari Mechanic lost his temper on seeing Hamilton win the title.
“I nearly won the title here in 2007, clinched it on the final turn in ’08 and drove like crazy to finish on the podium in ’09. But I’ve never won: and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do this time around” - Lewis Hamilton
The teams are vary of the rain interruption which can add more drama to the situation and it’s also been reported that rain is forecasted for both qualifying and race for this weekend. It would be really interesting to see how both Ferrari and Red Bull approach the weekend as the onus is on them for now. Some of the midfield and the backmarkers might approach the weekend with their components tweaked for full wet conditions as they can gain a lot under these tricky circumstances.
“It’s a circuit that usually produces good racing and there’s also talk of rain, which would add another element into the mix” - Paul di Resta
One of the major hurdle for the teams is the higher altitude which will play its part in the whole setup configuration of the car. There will be some loss of power from the engine due to the thin air and it also means that the engines that are high in mileage can be issued with no major issues. The power output can be close to eight percent lesser than normal.
“The thin air makes it tough for the engine, because Sao Paulo is located 1000m above sea level, so it costs us about 40hp” - Sebastian Vettel
It should be noted that Pirelli are going to supply teams with their 2013 prototype tyres which the teams will use in Free Practice 1 to evaluate. This test is highly crucial for teams as the amount of data that can be generated from this session will aid them with their preparation of their next season’s car and this is more important now as the off season testing starts only in February and this is the only chance for the teams to gain much data. The teams would be really hoping that this particular session stays dry.
We’ve yet to finalise where exactly all the compounds will sit in relation to each other, which is why we are calling the tyre to be used in Brazil a ‘prototype’ rather than giving it a specific nomination, but it will be very representative of our general design philosophy next year” - Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director
At the back end of the grid, it’s all about the battle for the 10th in the constructors championship. Caterham and HRT would be doing all they could to finish better than 12th in the race as it would mean their team will overhaul Marussia for the 10th sport in the standings. All the three teams will have equal chance under wet conditions as it would be more of a gamble for them to experiment under rain. These three teams will hope for rain as it will be a blessing in disguise for them. These three teams might also hope for the race to be more chaotic in some way.
“We are obviously fighting our own battle for 10th in the constructors’ championship, but while we still need a strong weekend, where we are today and what we have achieved thus far should not be overlooked” - John Booth, Marussia Team Principal.
At the midfield, Four Teams are fighting for a decent show to have a better position in the standings. Williams are chasing Force India for seventh with the gap deficient being 23 points. Majority of the Force India team are looking to defend their position rather than attack it’s higher ranked rival Sauber. Vijay Mallya has confessed that the team will be aggressive in their approach as he hopes to reclaim their sixth place in the constructive standings. The gap deficient between these two teams stands at 25 points. Meanwhile Sauber are chasing Mercedes for fifth position in the standings as the gap between these two teams is the smallest of the lot with just 12 points. Considering the fact that Sauber have been on the podium on more number of occasions then Mercedes, Sauber should be hoping for a solid performance with a podium or two can really upset the German manufacturer. Of these teams that are fighting for a position, it’s also highly likely that they remain at the same position after the race unless one of these teams goes through a significant improvement in their performances. The German manufacturer should be hoping to give its German stalwart a fitting end to his second stint in Formula 1. It would be ba emotional moment for Schumacher who unfortunately might not be in a position to fight for a podium but a strong finish in the points would put an end to what has been a troubled stint for this German veteran.
“This time round, I will be able to pay more attention to my farewell and hopefully savour it too” - Michael Schumacher
Speaking of farewell, the speculation around HRT is growing as time goes by, the team’s future is still uncertain but there are plenty of reports going around that the talks with prospective buyers hasn’t seen the light which isn’t a pleasing sign for this small Spanish team. The Team’s mechanics aren’t worried about their future and are set to focus on this weekend which is an amazing effort by them. But We would be extremely disappointed to see them leave the sport.
“At HRT Formula 1 Team, we will be facing our own challenge but I know that everyone will give their best, as they have done since we started with this amazing project. We managed to build it from scratch in record time and we can all be proud of what we have achieved. I am really proud of every single team member that made this happen, with their effort and commitment, and I am confident that in Brazil we can have a good race. That would be a nice reward for the team to conclude this very long and tough season with a positive result” - Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
But the real focus has got to be on the title fight between the two world champions who are on the hunt for their third world title. It’s clear that the entire Ferrari team are going for an aggressive approach to this race and as seen from the previous controversial weekend, this Italian team will do all it takes for their man to clinch the title, but Vettel is really going to start the weekend with a clear advantage of 13 points to his name and he has more possibility of clinching the title than his rival but as Vijay Mallya says, it’s not over until it’s over.
“There’s little to choose between the performances of Sebastian and Fernando this season, and all I hope for is a fair and true contest on Sunday.” - Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Up at the front I look forward to seeing how the fight in the drivers’ championship concludes because it’s never over until it’s over” - Vijay Mallya, Team Principal, Force India