Brazilian GP: Honda preview

Round eighteen is the final race of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship and takes the Honda Racing F1 Team to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The 71-lap race takes place at the atmospheric 4.309km (2.677-mile) Autódromo José...

Round eighteen is the final race of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship and takes the Honda Racing F1 Team to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The 71-lap race takes place at the atmospheric 4.309km (2.677-mile) Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos.

The track is situated between two man-made lakes that provide water and electricity to Sao Paulo, giving rise to the traditional name of Interlagos. It first hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1973, since when there have been several changes to the layout. The most significant alteration was in 1990, when the original 7.8km (4.8-mile) circuit was shortened to its current length. The track was renamed in the late 1970s after local hero José Carlos Pace, who won the only Grand Prix of his career at the circuit in 1975.

The track is one of only three circuits on the calendar that runs in an anti-clockwise direction, making it physically tough for the drivers. It is notoriously bumpy and, at 800 metres above sea level, is the highest racetrack of the year.

Both of the Honda Racing F1 Team drivers have finished on the podium in Brazil, Rubens Barrichello in 2004 and Jenson Button in 2006. The race is Rubens' home Grand Prix; he was born in Interlagos and used to visit the track as a small boy, before beginning his karting career there at the age of six.


The high altitude and a bumpy track surface provide the two biggest engineering challenges at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. At 800 metres above sea level, the reduced atmospheric pressure at the circuit reduces engine power and has a negative effect on aerodynamic performance.

The track was resurfaced prior to last year's race, but some of its notorious bumps still remain, particularly in the braking area for Turn 4, the 'Descida do Lago'. To avoid bottoming out, the cars have to run with increased ride heights, which reduces the effectiveness of their diffusers.

There are two overtaking points on the lap: into the 'S do Senna' at the start of the lap, and under braking for the 'Descida do Lago' left-hander at the end of the back straight. However, the most important corner is 'Juncao', Turn 12, from where the cars accelerate up the hill towards the start-finish straight. Good traction at the exit is vital to achieving a good lap time.

Bridgestone are taking their soft and medium compound tyres to the race which is one step harder than the rubber used at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix. However, the twisty in-field could still result in some graining early in the weekend when the track surface is still green.

Full throttle: 61%
Brake wear: Medium
Downforce level: Medium / High - 8/10
Tyre compounds: Soft / Medium
Tyre usage: Medium
Average speed: 214kph (133mph)


Ross Brawn, Team Principal

Q. What are your thoughts ahead of the final race of the 2008 season?

"Formula One heads to the final race of the season in Sao Paulo with the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships going right down to the wire. The unique atmosphere of Interlagos and the involvement of a local driver in the Championship challenge should ensure a thrilling finale to the 2008 season and a real boost for the sport.

"Brazil is a fitting place to end the season with the Interlagos circuit providing an unusual and exciting challenge for the drivers and engineers. The location of the track in an inner city area and the passionate Brazilian fans ensure an edgy and electric atmosphere around the circuit over the race weekend. The track layout has an almost three-dimensional feel with the changes in elevation and the high-speed left-hand corners provide an extra physical challenge.

"By any measure 2008 has not been a great season for the Honda Racing F1 Team. We have been focusing our thoughts and efforts on 2009 for a considerable time and for us, Brazil will be the closing of the book on this year, allowing our full focus to turn to the longer term plans of the team and our return to competitiveness."

Jenson Button

Q. You scored your first ever Formula One points in Brazil, in 2000. Do you like racing at Interlagos?

"Sao Paulo is a fantastic venue for the final race of the season as it's such a lively city and the Brazilian fans are incredibly passionate about Formula One. There is always a good atmosphere at Interlagos. The circuit itself is a challenging one for the drivers, which makes it all the more enjoyable to drive. The track surface is notoriously bumpy and you have to have a good understanding of where the bumps are and do your best to minimise their impact. It has an anti-clockwise layout which is quite unusual and this means using muscles in the neck which aren't used to the exertion, therefore the correct training in advance of the race is crucial. I'm looking forward to the weekend and, although we have had a tough year in 2008, we will go to Brazil and give our all to finish the season on a high note."

Rubens Barrichello

Q. What are your thoughts about racing in your home city of Sao Paulo?

The Brazilian Grand Prix has always been very special to me and I am really pleased for the Brazilian fans that they have a fantastic weekend of racing to look forward to with the Drivers' and Constructors' titles still to be decided. Interlagos is special not just because it is my home track, but because it has a challenging layout with some great corners such as the Curva do Laranjinha. There are also real overtaking opportunities, at Turn 1 in particular. The main challenge at Interlagos is to find the best set-up for the combination of fast and slow corners, and particularly the tight infield section where high levels of grip are required. You also need to have total confidence in your car and a good mechanical set-up with a high ride-height to manage the bumpy surface. As always, I'm looking forward to having my family and friends around me for the race weekend and to racing in front of my home fans."

Honda in Brazil

Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda has increased its production capacity from 50,000 units to 120,000 units over the last two years and has enjoyed a marked increase in sales. Automobile sales in 2007 were 85,749 units, an increase of 27 percent on the previous year, and the Honda Fit (Jazz) was the best-selling car. In addition to gasoline-based models, the Fit and Civic are available with flexible fuel vehicle systems, highlighting Honda's commitment to green technologies.

Motorcycle sales in 2007 also increased dramatically, with 1.53 million units sold in South America. In Brazil, production was increased to 1.5 million units, with a further increase to 2 million units planned for early 2009.

earthdreams in Brazil

One of the team's earthdreams projects is Meninos do Morumbi, an educational foundation which has been operating in Sao Paulo since 1996. Founded by professional musician Flávio Pimenta, Meninos do Morumbi teaches music, sports and education to more than 4,000 young people in the city and feeds in excess of 1,000 young people daily.

Honda's earthdreams initiative is powering an 'Environmental Reporter' campaign which helps the children develop their environmental education through an understanding of the natural dynamics of the region in which they live.

For further information, please visit

New on Honda

New on Honda Racing TV this week will be the preview to the final race of the season in Brazil with thoughts from Team Principal Ross Brawn and Chief Executive Officer Nick Fry.

-credit: honda

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello , Ross Brawn , Nick Fry
Teams Honda Racing F1 Team