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Brazilian GP: Preview - McLaren


Fernando Alonso: "I think every racing driver enjoys racing at Interlagos. It's obviously a special place, and we saw at the last race just how important it is to have packed grandstands full of passionate fans - and Brazil is no different. For such a short lap, the track has a great flow - from the moment you cross the start-finish line, you plunge into the esses and then sweep down into the bottom of the venue's natural bowl. Even with a couple of hairpins, it doesn't really feel like any of the corners interrupt the flow around here, which means that, at the end of each lap, you're already fully committed to attacking it again. I love this place."

"Sitting on the grid ahead of the race is one of those unique Formula 1 sensations: the crowd seems to loom over you; really in your face, very close. The atmosphere and intensity are always amazing. After a disappointing weekend in Mexico, I think we'll be looking to bounce back in Brazil. One of our aims will be to make the most of practice and qualifying, and give ourselves the best chance of maintaining a better position during the race."

Jenson Button: "The Interlagos circuit has a bit of - how can I put it? - 'muscle'. It's a place that you really attack - and it's really enjoyable, particularly when the front-end is properly nailed. A corner like Ferradura is really satisfying when you get it right; you really commit at the corner entry, barely scrubbing off any speed, and then sort of guide the car through until it rolls out of the second apex up onto the apex kerb. It's great. Even the hairpins require a really attacking style, you can take lots of kerb, and there's no run-off at the exits. It's how a racetrack should be, really."

"I love Interlagos and I'm really excited about the weekend. There's been some absolutely classic Formula 1 races there and it's always a good climax toward the end of the season. I hope we can have a better result there than we did in Mexico and work towards getting back into the points. There's only two races left so we'll be giving it our all for the awesome Brazilian fans. The atmosphere at Interlagos is always something special, so we'll go out there and show them a great weekend of racing."

Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Over the past few races, we've seen that our form has fluctuated due to a variety of circuit-specific characteristics. We're working hard to iron out these differences from track-to-track, but it's inevitable that some circuits will suit our package's strengths better than others.

"Interlagos is a real test of car and driver and often we see the best drivers shine there. It demands a lot from them, and at this time of year the circuit is notorious for tricky driving conditions if it rains, especially on the many off-camber areas of the track.

"Along with the backdrop of São Paulo, the incredibly enthusiastic Brazilian fans and the undulating nature of the circuit all make for great racing and one of the most exciting grands prix of the year. McLaren has seen a great deal of success in Brazil - both Fernando and Jenson clinched their world titles there - and it's a special place for our team. Interlagos rightfully deserves its legendary status on the calendar and we're aiming for a positive weekend at this incredible venue."

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer: "The Brazilian Grand Prix is always a special place for Honda due to our history with the great Ayrton Senna. We receive a warm welcome from the local fans every time we go there and that has always been the power that fuels us over the weekend.

"The classic track at Interlagos, however, is a challenging one. The swooping corners and the consecutive quick elevation changes make for beautiful scenery, but these turns ask a lot of the car balance. The track is also narrow, and the infield section is slow and twisty, so overtaking is always going to be difficult.

"Last year, we made more noise in qualifying with Fernando on social media than we did on the track. This year, we know that we can show our progress to our fans in Brazil with a better performance, and we're hoping for a good weekend of racing."

2015 winner: Nico Rosberg, 71 laps, 1:31:09.090s

2015 pole position: Nico Rosberg,1m11.282s

2015 fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton, 1m14.832s (lap 51)

Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace

First race: 1973

Circuit length: 4.309km/2.677 miles (3rd shortest of the season)

Distance to Turn One: 190m/0.118 miles (longest of the season: Mexico, 800m/0.497 miles)

Longest straight: 650m/0.404 miles, on the approach to the Turn One

Top speed: 325km/h/202mph, on the approach to Turn One

Pitlane length: 380m/0.236 miles, estimated time loss 21s

Full throttle: 60 per cent

DRS zones: Two, on the approach to Turns One and Four

Key corner: Turn 12, Juncao. A third-gear left-hander that's taken at 130km/h (81mph). It's crucial to get the power down cleanly because the long, uphill drag to the finish-line follows, at the end of which is one of the best overtaking points on the lap

Fastest corner: 257km/h (160mph), Turn Five

Slowest corner: 72km/h (45mph), Turn 10

Major changes for 2016: None, except for maintenance work

Fuel consumption: 1.49kg per lap, which is low

ERS demands: High. There are several places around the lap where ERS deployment is crucial, but there are only two heavy braking zones in which to regain energy under braking

Brake wear: Low. There are six braking zones around the lap, but only two of them are heavy. Just 15 per cent of the lap is spent braking

Gear changes 42 per lap/2,982 per race

There have been two iterations of the Interlagos circuit. When it first hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1973, it was a 7.960km/4.946-mile roller-coaster ride around the side of the natural bowl in which the track is located. It was shortened and modernised following a $15 million injection in the late '80s and the current layout has staged the Brazilian Grand Prix every year since 1990.

What makes it unique: Bumps. The track was built on marshland between two lakes, hence the name 'Interlagos', and its soft foundations mean bumps appear over time. The track was re-surfaced two years ago, but the new surface is already becoming increasingly bumpy.

Grip levels: High. The cars immediately circulated close to lap record pace when the new asphalt was laid two years ago and grip levels improve over time when small cracks appear in the surface. The drivers are expecting good levels of grip this weekend.

Run-off: Medium. The proximity of surrounding roads and houses means it hasn't been possible to push back the barriers as far as might be conventional at a new circuit. But there's ample run-off at the fastest points on the lap - on the approaches to Turns One and Four.

Watch out for: Changeable weather conditions. Should it rain, the undulating nature of the circuit means rivers form very quickly at various points around the lap. The depth of water is particularly bad at the exit of Turn Three, where lots of cars have spun off in the past.

Start time: 14:00hrs local/16:00hrs GMT

Race distance: 71 laps (full world championship points will be awarded after 75 per cent distance/53 laps)

Safety Car likelihood: High. This race is often incident-filled and, statistically, there's a 70 per cent chance of a Safety Car

When to press record: The drivers' parade. There's a lot of passion for F1 in Brazil and the fans are generous in their support of drivers of all nationalities. However, this is Brazilian Felipe Massa's final home grand prix, so expect him to be the focus of attention

Don't put the kettle on: Pirelli brought their Soft and Medium tyre compounds to the race in 2015 and the top three drivers made three pitstops. Race winner Nico Rosberg pitted on laps seven, 26 and 50; how will the addition of the Hard tyre affect pitstop strategy this year?

Weather conditions: Sunday, 25 degrees, with the potential for more rain

Tyre choices: Soft/Medium/Hard, a combination that was last used at Suzuka in Japan.


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