As the 2005 FIA Formula 1 World Championship moves into its final phase with three 'flyaway' races, Team Sauber Petronas heads to the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Interlagos...
As the 2005 FIA Formula 1 World Championship moves into its final phase with three 'flyaway' races, Team Sauber Petronas heads to the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Willy Rampf (Technical Director):
"Interlagos is one of those very challenging circuits, both for the drivers and for the engineers. It requires mutually incompatible things from the car: you want minimal drag for the long straights - especially the long uphill drag to the start/finish line - but equally you want maximum downforce for the tight infield complex. You therefore have to make shrewd compromises in setting up the car."
"It's also important to achieve the optimal combination of springs and rollbars on the mechanical side in order to generate good traction and grip, because the track is very bumpy. The surface is also quite abrasive, so tyre wear is fairly high and must be taken into consideration."
"We lose a fair amount of engine power because of the high altitude. This places even greater importance on the aerodynamic efficiency of the car. Apart from that Interlagos is, together with Imola and Istanbul, an anti-clockwise track which makes it a bit harder on the drivers' neck muscles."
"At this time of the year it is the first days of spring in the southern hemisphere, so an occasional shower cannot be ruled out; as we saw last year that can make the race even more exciting."
"Last year Felipe qualified very well and ran strongly early in the race, so we will build on the experience we gained then to hone the C24 for a circuit which should suit it well."
Jacques Villeneuve (149 GPs, 9 points 2005):
"Interlagos definitely has character, but it's not amongst my favourites. It has some difficult corners and a tight infield section. It's also pretty bumpy. You need as much grip as possible for the corners but as little downforce as you can get away with for straightline speed.
"It always has a great crowd - the fans in Brazil create a really special atmosphere. The weather has been tricky a few times there so if it rains again this weekend, we could take advantage of the situation as we did at Spa where I could finish sixth and score three points for the team."
"Sao Paulo has never been my favourite town but maybe Felipe will make me change my mind. In any case, I want to wish him all the best for his home Grand Prix."
Felipe Massa (50 GPs, 8 points 2005):
"Obviously I am going to have quite a lot of pressure racing at home in Brazil, but I always love being here and performing in front of my countrymen. It's a very nice feeling. It will also get me used to the sort of pressure I can expect all the time at Ferrari next year, I guess.
"I'm really looking forward to the race, especially after the way the Sauber Petronas C24 went at Spa. I have very fond memories of last year's race, when I led a Grand Prix for the first time, and I hope I can do even better this time."
"Interlagos is a tricky circuit, and very physical. You are cornering all the time, because even the straights are really very long curves, and the track runs in an anti-clockwise direction which is unusual. That can be hard on the neck muscles, and the numerous bumps are tough too, but there are a lot of nice corners and getting them right is really satisfying."