The 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship will reach its conclusion on Sunday as this season's battle for the title is fought out at Brazil's Interlagos circuit. Located on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, the Carlos Pace Autodromo has provided the...
The 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship will reach its conclusion on Sunday as this season's battle for the title is fought out at Brazil's Interlagos circuit. Located on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, the Carlos Pace Autodromo has provided the venue for over a quarter of a century of Grand Prix racing since its introduction onto the calendar in 1973 and in recent years has staged some of the most dramatic Championship deciders on its 4.3km, anti-clockwise track. As the majority of Championship positions within the Drivers' and Constructors' tables are still undecided following the Chinese Grand Prix, so this year's race will be no different. Tailing its closest rivals by just three points, the AT&T Williams team travel to Brazil with a clear objective of improving their final standing in the Constructors' Championship.
Interlagos is a really fun track to drive as it has a bit of everything gradient changes, a complete mix of corners and it runs in an anti-clockwise direction which presents a different challenge for the drivers. We had a strong race there last year and I finished fourth. As we haven't had a great showing in the past two races, it would be nice to do well again here and end the season on a positive note. It's going to be difficult with this year's harder tyres, and we'll have to cover a lot of ground with the car on Friday to get to the optimum set-up.
After the long trip to Asia, I've spent the past week in New York training and spending time with my girlfriend who's over there working at the moment. As the Big Apple is in a similar time zone to Sao Paulo, and I'm now over any jet-lag after the trip to Asia, I'm in a good position going to Brazil later this week. It will be busy for me as I have several sponsor commitments to cover before the race weekend routines start, but I'm ready for the final round!
This race marks my first anniversary in Formula One and I can't believe how quickly it's gone! I've certainly learnt a lot and I'll be using that experience in Brazil this weekend. This race will be easier than some of the others this season because I actually have experience of racing at Interlagos. Our car worked well in Brazil last year, and I hope that's the case on Sunday and we have a better race than we did in Japan and China. The track itself is fairly challenging, but it's really exciting to drive.
I headed straight back to the UK after Shanghai so I've had the chance to spend some time at home and also to do some work with my engineers at the factory in preparation for this weekend's race. It was a busy time for me in Asia with lots of marketing commitments so the break was nice!
Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1
Interlagos is positioned at a high altitude and has ambient air pressures around 930mbar which causes an 8% reduction in downforce, drag and engine power compared to when we race at circuits at sea level. The track's undulating layout consists of mainly slow speed corners, but it does have a couple of high speed turns that are taken at either full throttle, or just before braking for a slow speed corner, so their effect on lap time isn't significant.
There are some good overtaking opportunities around the lap, particularly at turns one and four. The grid here is traditionally very tight due to the low fuel penalty and short lap time, so the midfield will probably be even closer than usual. Most teams will go for a one or two stop strategy and Bridgestone will supply the medium and soft tyre compounds, both options will be strong in the race. We've put in some good performances in Brazil over the years, last year's race being no exception. This weekend, we'll be looking to close 2008 with a good result.
Interlagos Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil
The 71 lap Brazilian Grand Prix will be a true test of durability, heightened by the fact that the race is run in an anti-clockwise direction. The 4.3km circuit consists of 15 medium and slow speed corners, ten left and five right, and has a blend of long, fast straights and gradient changes. With such a varied layout, set-up compromises are inevitable, and the challenge lies in achieving optimal aerodynamic efficiency around the lap.
Interlagos is a notoriously bumpy circuit, so not only is it draining on the drivers, but the cars must have a good mechanical balance for driveability. Combined with the bumps, the track is also particularly abrasive, so harder compound tyres must be selected to ensure their survival. Engines are also under pressure in Brazil, with the long straights demanding extensive periods at full throttle and high revs, while the high altitude and thinning air saps approximately 8% of overall power around the lap. Plenty of overtaking opportunities, combined with the area's unpredictable weather conditions, will only enhance what is due to be a tense season finale in Brazil.
Online this week at www.attwilliams.com
The AT&T Williams Chinese GP Podcast, the Brazilian GP Flyby, Nico Rosberg's Chinese GP Column, Kazuki's GP Blogs, iWitness, Patrick Head's 1986 Brazilian GP Reflection and an exclusive new video: "The Williams F1 Pack Up Movie."