Toto Wolff confirmed he would not attend the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, but took the time to preview Round 20 of the 2019 Formula 1 season, which takes place at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo, Brazil.
The Mercedes team boss said, “Last week we had the chance to celebrate the championships with everyone at Brixworth and Brackley – the 1,500 men and women that form this amazing team and made this extraordinary success possible. It is always a special moment and this year’s was particularly special as our sixth consecutive double sets a new benchmark in our sport.
“But despite this record-breaking achievement, I still feel a lot of hunger and desire for more achievements. There’s no sense of complacency, everybody is still determined to keep on improving. It’s an inspiring group of people that fully lives up to the Mercedes aspiration of being the best.
“We have two races to go in the 2019 season and we want to end this season on a high. The next stop takes us to Brazil which brings back fond memories from last year when we were not only able to win the race but also secure the constructors’ championship at Interlagos.
“It’s a very short track which makes qualifying particularly challenging as the margins are very small. We have generally not had the fastest car on Saturdays since the summer break, but we were able to take pole in Austin and will try to fight for a front row start again at São Paulo.
2019 Brazilian Grand Prix: Fact File
- The Autódromo José Carlos Pace is the third-shortest circuit on the F1 calendar, with a lap length of just 4.309 km – only Monaco and Mexico are shorter.
- Interlagos also has the second-quickest lap time of the entire season. The current race lap record is 1:10.540 (Valtteri in 2018), the absolute lap record is 1:07.281 (Lewis in Q3 in 2018). Only a lap at Spielberg in Austria takes less time to complete.
- The first and third sectors have over 75% of lap time at full throttle, but the middle sector has less than 50%. From the exit of Turn 12 until the braking zone for Turn 1, there are 1.2 kilometres of driving at full throttle and an elevation change of 40 metres to the highest point on the track.
- The first and third sectors require a low-drag car, but the middle sector is fastest on maximum downforce. In the past, this compromise meant you would see a range of downforce levels on cars at Interlagos. But since the second DRS zone was added, more teams bias towards higher downforce owing to the lap-time benefit in Qualifying.
- The Interlagos circuit is located over 800m above sea level, which is the second highest of the season – but the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is much higher at over 2,200m.
- Braking for Turn 1 is unusual, because the corner is heavily banked towards the inside. This often causes front locking as the track drops away and unloads the front-left wheel. But it’s one of the few corners where you can lock up and not lose any lap time – with so little load on the tyre, locking doesn’t usually result in a flat-spot.
- The brakes are not used heavily at Interlagos, with only five braking events registering over 2G and one heavy braking event (experiencing over 4G for more than 0.4s).
- One of the engineering challenges at the track is to keep the left-hand front tyre in the working temperature window, because from the exit of Turn 10 until the entry to Turn 6 (3.5km in distance) it does very little work and thus cools down quickly.
- Brazil is one of the easier tracks to overtake on, especially since the second DRS zone was added, but managing battery levels for the defending car can be difficult because there is only one big braking zone in which to recover energy between the two longest straights.
- The weather can be varied and volatile for the race weekend. It’s not uncommon for track temperatures to shift 30°C from practice to the race, which makes it very difficult to predict what the tyres are going to do.
- Wet weather can be especially challenging in Brazil. Despite channels being cut into the tarmac to improve drainage, there are a number of places where rivers tend to run across the track when it’s raining heavily.