São Paulo welcomes Formula One as the teams assemble at Interlagos for the 20th and final round of the 2012 F1 World Championship. The Brazilian Grand Prix has been the scene of much drama since it moved from the beginning to the end of the F1 season and it has the opportunity to be so again as Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso go head-to-head around the famous Autódromo José Carlos Pace, each seeking to become a three-times World Champion.
Interlagos has never struggled to provide entertainment. The roller-coaster configuration provides several excellent overtaking prospects, while the off-camber corners and uphill/downhill braking zones provide ample opportunities for error. The weather often plays a part and the safety car has seen action frequently in recent years. In short, it is the perfect venue for a championship showdown.
Cut into a hillside, the circuit is a natural amphitheatre, providing the huge and usually raucous crowd with superb views of the action as the circuit drops from the heights of the start-finish straight down to the Descida do Lago section at Turns Four and Five. It then winds back and forth across the bowl before reaching the Junção corner followed by the long full-throttle ascent back to the line.
Red Bull Racing wrapped up the Constructors’ Championship last weekend in Austin at the United States Grand Prix, leaving the field clear for the Drivers’ Championship to be the sole focus of attention in Brazil. Going to Interlagos, Sebastian Vettel leads Fernando Alonso by 13 points. With a superior win record in 2012, Vettel will take the title if the pair finish tied on points – meaning Vettel can afford to finish fourth and be guaranteed his third World Championship in three years with the 12 points that brings. Vettel has been on the podium for the last six races but will take nothing for granted. Interlagos tends to be rather more capricious than other circuits.
CIRCUIT DATA: AUTÓDROMO JOSÉ CARLOS PACE (INTERLAGOS)
Length of lap: 4.309km
Lap record: 1:11.473 (Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams, 2004)
Start line/finish line offset: 0.030km
Total number of race laps: 71
Total race distance: 305.9km
Pitlane speed limits: 60km/h during practice and qualifying, 100km/h during the race
CHANGES TO THE CIRCUIT SINCE 2011
► New debris fences have been installed on both sides of the track between turns 3 and 4.
► A kerb has been installed on the apex of turn 15.
► Tube inserts have been placed in the tyre barrier on the end of the wall at the pit entry.