MICHELIN PREPARED, COME RAIN OR SHINE With the European segment of Formula One's 19-race season now complete, the world championship switches this weekend to the calendar's only South American venue. Interlagos is a challenging, high-speed track...
MICHELIN PREPARED, COME RAIN OR SHINE
With the European segment of Formula One's 19-race season now complete, the world championship switches this weekend to the calendar's only South American venue. Interlagos is a challenging, high-speed track located within the sprawling suburbs of São Paulo, Brazil's largest city - and it attracts one of the sport's noisiest, most vibrant crowds.
First opened in 1940, the original Interlagos staged non-championship Formula One races in 1971 and 1972 before hosting the first official Brazilian Grand Prix one year later. This weekend marks the country's 33rd world championship F1 race and the 23rd in São Paulo.
The anti-clockwise track is now little more than half the length of its progenitor - it was shortened ahead of the 1990 season, since when it has been the race's permanent home, and now measures 4.309 kilometres (2.677 miles).
The Circuit de Jacarepagua, in Rio de Janeiro, is the only other track to have hosted the event. Brazil has a special place in Michelin's heart. Ferrari driver Carlos Reutemann scored the company's maiden F1 success at Rio in 1978 - and that was also a first for Michelin's pioneering radial technology, which prevails in the sport to this day.
During the intervening years Michelin has won the Brazilian GP with René Arnoux (Renault, 1980), Reutemann (Williams-Cosworth, 1981), Alain Prost (Renault, 1982/McLaren-TAG turbo, 1984) and Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW, 1983).
In last season's corresponding fixture, Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) and Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) scored a dominant 1-2 for Michelin in a rain-affected race.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin Motorsport Director:
"Interlagos is one of the most exciting circuits we race at during the season, partly because its unusual layout - it is one of only three anti-clockwise venues on the Formula One calendar - incorporates several overtaking opportunities."
"Although the Brazilian Grand Prix has been brought forward in 2005, weather conditions might be similar to those we encountered last year - modest ambient temperatures interspersed with heavy showers. In such wet/dry conditions, it is a particular feature of this circuit that small rivers form on the track surface. As a result, some parts of the circuit remain wet for quite a long time after the rest has dried."
"In normal circumstances Interlagos is reasonably abrasive, although tyre -wear rates are average. The circuit is always very dirty at the start of the weekend, which complicates tyre choice for the drivers because it makes it harder to anticipate how grip levels might change during the balance of the grand prix."
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:
"It is the first time that the Brazilian Grand Prix will have been held in September and, as a result, the weather might be relatively cool - 18 to 23 degrees - and, potentially, wet. With this in mind we have been working with Michelin to develop tyres that will give good performance in the conditions."
"In the past the Interlagos track has provoked some instances of blistering, but with the expected cooler temperatures and the 2005 regulations' enhanced tyre durability, we don't expect this to be a dominant issue."