Although there are no championships to be determined this season, Interlagos will once again signal the closing of a remarkable chapter in the sport?óÔé¼Ôäós history this weekend.
After seven seasons, the Brazilian Grand Prix marks the 147th and final race of Formula One’s 2.4 litre V8 engine era, ahead of the introduction of 1.6 litre V6 turbo power units in 2014.
Although not the most powerful or advanced engines to have been used throughout the 63 year history of the world championship, the V8 era has produced some of the most memorable and dramatic races of all time, while the homologation of engine specifications gave rise to a period of remarkable reliability.
This weekend, the Formula One paddock will also come together to bid a fond farewell to one of the grid?óÔé¼Ôäós most popular and successful drivers ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ Mark Webber. After a career spanning 11 seasons, 13 pole positions and nine grand prix victories, the Australian veteran will end his F1 career at Interlagos ahead of his move to Porsche?óÔé¼Ôäós endurance racing prototype project next year.
But while Webber will no doubt be looking to close his F1 career with a win, it will take a remarkable effort for him to put a stop to his team mate?óÔé¼Ôäós unprecedented run of success. Having virtually cruised to victory in the last eight races, there?óÔé¼Ôäós no palpable reason to why Sebastian Vettel cannot make it nine successive victories this weekend.
Interlagos circuit information
|Lap length||4.309km (2.677 miles)|
|Distance||71 laps (305.9km/190.1 miles)|
|Lap record*||1’11.473 (Juan Pablo Montoya, 2004)|
|Fastest lap||1’09.822 (Rubens Barrichello, 2004)|
|Tyres||Hard and Medium|
*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix
Originally an intimidating 7.9km course during its first stint as a grand prix venue in the seventies, Interlagos has been a permanent fixture on the calendar since F1 returned to the shorter, modern layout in 1990.
With its high average speed, long straights and fast sweeping corners, Interlagos is one of the most physically demanding circuits on the calendar. From the downhill plunge of the Senna Esses to the fast sweeps of Ferradura and Mergulho, Interlagos is a true F1 classic that is popular with drivers and has always produced overtaking and exciting battles.
There may not have been any wet races this season, but in Sao Paulo, rain is almost always a factor at some point during the grand prix weekend. But come rain or shine, the passionate Brazillian fans never fail to generate a carnival atmosphere, making Interlagos the perfect venue for F1?óÔé¼Ôäós season finale.
Brazilian Grand Prix team-by-team preview
Mark Webber?óÔé¼Ôäós 216th and final grand prix appearance is at a circuit he describes as one of his favourites. Having won here twice before, a third Interlagos victory would be the perfect way for Webber to sign off his F1 career. “I feel ready for Brazil and am looking forward to a bit of a different chapter in the future,” says Webber. “So the time is good for me, one to go and we’ll put on a very good performance, I believe I can do that in Brazil.”
To do that, he will need to overcome the seemingly unstoppable Vettel ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ something Webber has failed to achieve all season. And after the well-documented team orders spat in Malaysia, don?óÔé¼Ôäót expect any charitable gestures from one to the other this weekend.
After a seven-season stint with the Scuderia, Felipe Massa will drive his final race for Ferrari at his home circuit. While a win or even a podium seems unlikely, Massa will surely see this weekend as a final opportunity for him to get one over his illustrious team mate.
After failing to score a single podium finish for the first time in 33 years, McLaren?óÔé¼Ôäós worst season in recent memory finally comes to an end this weekend. Heading to the scene of both the team and Jenson Button?óÔé¼Ôäós last victory in 2012, McLaren will be hoping to end this year on a high with a solid points finish for both cars likely the maximum of what they will be able to achieve.
Interlagos is also Sergio Perez?óÔé¼Ôäós final race for the McLaren team. Following a solid drive in Austin, more of the same this weekend will be the best way for Perez to show that he deserves a race seat in 2014.
Were it not for Vettel?óÔé¼Ôäós incredible run of success, Romain Grosjean may well have taken his first grand prix victory during this final leg of the season. An 18 point deficit to Ferrari in the constructor?óÔé¼Ôäós championship may prove too much to overcome in the final race, but Grosjean may well be Vettel?óÔé¼Ôäós closest competitor once again this weekend if his outstanding form continues.
It was a difficult return to racing for Heikki Kovalainen in Austin, so a strong points finish would be the best way for him to show that the team made the right decision in choosing him over Davide Valsecchi.
Second place in the constructor?óÔé¼Ôäós championship is Mercedes?óÔé¼Ôäó to lose heading into this final race of the season. With Ferrari having struggled for pace in recent rounds, it seems likely that the team will achieve their best result since returning to F1 as a factory outfit in 2010. A win seems out of reach, but a podium finish will surely be the target for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg this weekend.
?óÔé¼?ôIt would be fantastic to achieve second place in the constructor?óÔé¼Ôäós championship to give all of the team here and back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth an early Christmas present,?óÔé¼?Ø says Rosberg.
He may only have raced around Interlagos twice, but Nico Hulkenberg has proved himself as somewhat of a specialist of this 4.3km circuit ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ famously taking pole here in 2010 and leading 30 laps for Force India in mixed conditions last year. With another strong points finish last time out in Austin, Sauber will have high hopes for what their lead driver may be able to achieve this weekend.
After wiping out in the first lap of the United States GP, Adrian Sutil will want to put the disappointment of Austin behind him and remember the impressive performance he had during his last race at Interlagos in 2011.
?óÔé¼?ôThe lap has a very nice flow with a real variation of corners,?óÔé¼?Ø says Sutil. ?óÔé¼?ôThere are fast sections, slow corners, elevation changes and off-camber parts of the lap. It may be small, but it has everything you need from a track.?óÔé¼?Ø
After 18 races Valtteri Bottas secured his first ever world championship points with a well-deserved eighth in Austin, more than tripling Williams?óÔé¼Ôäó total points tally for the season and lifting him above his team mate. ?óÔé¼?ôI think we will have a good opportunity to finish in the top ten once again in Brazil,?óÔé¼?Ø he says.
For Pastor Maldonado, his final race for the team that gave him his first opportunity in Formula One seems as though it could not come soon enough. At one point during his troubled United States Grand Prix weekend he even suggested his team were deliberately holding him back, comments he later played down.
Daniel Ricciardo bids farewell to Toro Rosso this weekend ahead of his promotion into Red Bull to fill Webber?óÔé¼Ôäós seat next season. He and remaining team mate Jean-Eric Vergne will be hoping for more pace from the STR8 at this final round having scored just one point between the pair of them since the Italian Grand Prix in September.
It seems only a miracle or a very bizarre race will allow Caterham the 12th place finish they need to leapfrog Marussia in the constructor?óÔé¼Ôäós championship. That will be a tall order, given that the team were beaten by their rivals last weekend, but with a mixed weather forecast for Interlagos, this fight could well go down to the chequered flag as it did in 2012.
Just 71 laps separate Marussia from a crucial tenth place finish in the constructor?óÔé¼Ôäós championship. And after losing tenth place to their Caterham rivals in desperate fashion here last year, the team will be desperate to ensure they do not suffer the same fate two years in succession.
2013 driver form
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2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
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Images ?é?® Red Bull/Getty, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Lotus/LAT, Force India, Williams/LAT