Brazil plays host to Round 19 of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship this weekend, with the famous Interlagos circuit the venue for the inaugural São Paulo Grand Prix. The sweeping turns of the Autódromo José Carlos Pace have created incredible drama over the years and races that will last long in the memory, so it is no surprise that the circuit is a favourite of many drivers. The fervent local support also provides a carnival atmosphere and produces the accompanying soundtrack to what is one of the most colourful weekends on the entire calendar.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Following a difficult weekend in Mexico, we are glad to have arrived in Brazil for the São Paulo Grand Prix. Usually, coming to Brazil makes the cars feel difficult to drive due to the circuit being 750m above sea level. However, as this event immediately follows Mexico, the drivers ought to be pleasantly surprised by the car this weekend. This is fortunate as this weekend is a Sprint Qualifying Event and we therefore have very limited opportunity to prepare the car for the competitive sessions.
The track in São Paulo is a short charismatic circuit with some challenging corners and significant changes in elevation, including the long final run to the start/finish straight. The infield section is very technical and requires a well-balanced car and a high level of skill from the drivers.
The tyres are, once again, from the middle of the Pirelli range, and this is a step softer than we have often had in Brazil. This will make qualifying easier and more physically demanding for the drivers, but the race may require a little more tyre management than normal. This should add to the range of competitive strategies on Sunday.
This weekend is the third and final Sprint Qualifying Event of the season and is likely to be the most demanding. Having not travelled to Brazil in 2020, the lack of track time ahead of the Qualifying session will place an additional demand on the drivers and engineers as they must correctly prioritise the testing in FP1. It will be a challenging weekend, but one that we are looking forward to as we seek to consolidate our Championship position.
George Russell: Interlagos is another circuit that we unfortunately didn't get the opportunity to visit in 2020, so I am really excited to go back there this year. It is a very old school track with plenty of character and lots of undulation. We also have the Sprint Qualifying format returning which holds some different challenges to the usual race weekends, so all in all I'm very excited.
Nicholas Latifi: Autódromo José Carlos Pace is one of the tracks I've been looking forward to this year, as I haven't raced there as a Formula One driver; my experience at the track is limited to an FP1 session with the team in 2019. It is one of the shorter tracks on the calendar and also a very technical one. The in-field section is quite tight and twisty with a mix of cambers, so that makes it a challenge for the car and the driver, especially if we get mixed weather conditions which is quite common for Interlagos. We’ll also have the Sprint Qualifying format for the final time this year, which should make for some interesting racing and a good show for the fans.