Rather than constituting one of the first races of a new season, Brazil is unusually host to the final Grand Prix of the year. The team still has everything to play for, however, as the fight for position in the Constructors' Championship...
Rather than constituting one of the first races of a new season, Brazil is unusually host to the final Grand Prix of the year. The team still has everything to play for, however, as the fight for position in the Constructors' Championship continues and the teams chase the last crucial points of the year. With this is mind, preparations for Brazil have been relentless, with three days of intensive systems testing and set-up work in Jerez this week.
As the curtain falls on another Formula One season, the race at Interlagos will also mark the end of both Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher's tenure with the team as they head for pastures new in 2005.
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"It's been a very long season, but it's still hard to believe that the next race will be the last. It's a change for the Championship to finish in Brazil, but I like it because it's close to home and I will see relatives and friends. I'll be flying out to Brazil a couple of days early to fulfil some sponsor commitments in Rio. The race in Japan was good, and we proved our car is competitive. Our aim for the last race will be to increase our points and maintain the gap over McLaren."
"Last year's race at Interlagos was very hectic and unpredictable because of the wet track conditions and all the accidents that followed. In previous years, though, we have always performed fairly well there. It's a track I like, its fun to drive and the atmosphere is always great. I am always amazed to see all those fans queuing up outside the circuit in the very early morning and I'm hoping to see some Colombian flags waving."
"I really hope we can follow up the great result we had in Suzuka, it is definitely possible with the car we have at the moment. If our Michelin tyre is as good as it was in Japan, we could certainly achieve a podium finish. After six years with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, I would really like to leave them with a strong result."
Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1):
"Interlagos will be an exciting finale to the season for all the teams as the Sao Paulo track layout provides great overtaking opportunities. We have not raced in the dry here for over two and a half years as last year's race, at the start of the year, was fully wet. The circuit itself is dominated by slow to medium speed corners and straights. The long straights demand a good balance for the corners leading into them."
"Strategy will be particularly interesting at Interlagos with such a long pit lane, combined with the tendency to do short first stints. We are confident of a strong challenge in Brazil. It will be the final race for the FW26, and we need to ensure that we finish fourth in the Constructors' Championship."
"We are also saying farewell, for now at least, to Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya. Although this season has not been ideal for us, we have had some fantastic race wins with these two drivers since they have been with the team. Ralf's first race win at Imola in 2001, through to Juan's total domination at Hockenheim in 2003, have left us with great memories."
"Ralf with his confident, analytical approach when leading from the front, and Juan with his fantastic overtaking and raw racing talent resulted in a good combination. We wish them all the best for the future."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"After a pleasing result in Japan, we are hoping for another successful race in the final round in Brazil. The enormous effort that went into further development of the FW26 paid off in Japan, as did our technical reliability. Ralf's good performance also gives us reason to be optimistic for the last Grand Prix of the year."
"Interlagos is a variable and challenging circuit. The long, uphill start/finish straight will certainly place demands on the BMW P84 engine. In addition, the circuit lies approximately 800 metres above sea level which causes around an 8% loss in engine power due to the low air density, although this obviously affects everybody to the same extent."