Toro Rosso and Honda preview the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, Round 20 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos, Sau Paulo.
Short, fast and breath-taking, the penultimate stop on the F1 calendar has it all. The anti-clockwise São Paulo wows the crowds with elevation change, a tight infield section and an iconic high speed straight. Teams will be looking to finish strong heading into the last race of the season.
Pierre Gasly: “Last year was my first race in Sao Paulo and I enjoyed the experience. You get a real feel for just how important Formula 1 is in Brazil, with Ayrton Senna and the other champions it produced in the past. I really appreciated that and I also thought the track layout was very good. It has a lot of character with an interesting variety of corners and kerbs that you have to ride, I enjoyed driving it. In the race, I started from down the back of the grid with penalties and managed to finish not far off the points in twelfth. I’m looking forward to fighting for points again, after we have taken tactical penalties in the last few races to maximise our chances in these final two races of the season. It often rains in Sao Paulo and I love driving in the wet, because it makes life a bit more complicated for the drivers so it can be more fun and the driver has a greater impact on performance. Naturally, coming from Normandy, I drove a lot in the wet when I was starting in karts. Another interesting point is that the track is anticlockwise and all of the straights are not really straight, so even there you are always turning, sometimes for around 15 seconds in the opposite direction to usual. I remember from last year you can feel it in your neck, but I’ve prepared for that specifically, so I don’t expect any problems.”
Brendon Hartley: “My pace in the last few events has been really fantastic and I had a great points finish in Austin, followed by a strong turn of speed in Mexico, even if it didn’t deliver the result we might have deserved. Therefore, I’m going into the last two races of the year in a really positive frame of mind. We will have the latest spec Honda engine on board and we know that it delivers much more performance. On top of that, the new aero kit adds some value and seems to suit my driving style. I enjoy going to Brazil. It’s an old-school track, with the fans making for a great atmosphere. It’s got interesting changes of elevation and camber and a bit of everything. I know the track well having raced there in WEC. Last year in F1, I unfortunately had to retire with a technical problem, so I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend. The weather can be a factor, producing interesting races at this track in the past, and this year we’ve seen our package goes well in tricky conditions. Whatever the weather, I believe we can be in good shape and we will be targeting some more points.”
Toyoharu Tanabe, Technical Director, Honda F1: “With two rounds remaining this year, we now head to Brazil for the only South American race of the championship. Interlagos is an anti-clockwise track that has many interesting features for the drivers and engineers to deal with. It is the second shortest circuit of the season, but can still be challenging on the PU for a couple of reasons: the first is the altitude, although the track is only 800 metres above sea level, rather than the over 2200 metres we experienced in Mexico, but the turbo still has to work harder than usual and we have to keep an eye on cooling. The second, is the possibility of sudden changes in the weather from dry to very wet, so we need to be well prepared for all conditions.”
“There have been many memorable rain-affected races and personally, I will never forget the 1991 race, when Ayrton took his first home win, bringing the car home with only sixth gear working for the final laps.”