There has been no Brazilian world champion since Ayrton Senna in 1991, but the passion of the Brazilian fans continues regardless. The atmosphere is always electric at Interlagos and AT&T Williams driver Rubens Barrichello can expect a big following when he races in front of his home crowd.
Interlagos is physically tough for the drivers. The anti-clockwise direction pulls on the neck muscles and its notorious bumps jolt every muscle in their backs. But the drivers still love it.
"It's not a particularly long circuit," says Barrichello, "but it's an interesting one. Some of the track is very twisty, but you have a very long straight, so you need straight-line speed if you don't want to go backwards in the race."
At 800 metres above sea level, the track is the highest in F1 and that poses a few problems for the engines. The reduced atmospheric pressure causes a 10 percent reduction in power, which equates to 80bhp.
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: As a team we need to have a quick turnaround between the Abu Dhabi test and Brazil. We are expecting mid-20 degrees C ambient and mid-30 degrees C track temperatures. There is also a chance of rain, which if it comes, tends to be heavy. The Interlagos track is a classical 'two circuits in one' layout, with set-up always being a compromise between the long uphill run from T12 to the start-finish line and the medium-low speed corners within Sector 2. Both fuel effect and consumption are low for this 71 lap race so the fuel mass is low at the start of the race relative to the majority of tracks during the season. We will have the medium and soft Pirelli tyres this weekend, as last used at the Abu Dhabi race. We will also have two sets of development dry tyres for Friday's running.
Rubens Barrichello: Brazil: it's the best week and race of the year for me. It always goes by so fast but I try to enjoy every little second of it. I love the racing track, especially the Laranjinha corner with it is double apexes. Interlagos has always been very good for overtaking and I expect nothing different this year. For a quick lap you need a combination of good brakes, good traction and good engine power. I am looking for a positive end to the season with a points finish.
Pastor Maldonado: It will be my first time racing in Brazil, although I have visited the country once before and loved it. It will be an interesting race for me because it is the closest one to my home country, so I hope to have lots of Venezuelan fans and support for me there. I really like the look of the Interlagos track and, having spent time driving it in the simulator, I think it is very fast and I am going to really enjoy it.
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