Brazil GP: Preview - Ferrari


Just a few days after the Mexico City Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow has moved to another famous city in the Americas, for the first Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The name is new, but the track that hosts the 19th round of the season is a classic: the Jose Carlos Pace circuit in Interlagos, named after the Brazilian who actually won here in 1975. It has already hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix 37 times and is the most visited track outside Europe after Montreal, the venue for 40 Canadian Grands Prix.

After Silverstone and Monza, Interlagos is a circuit with a long history that hosts the Sprint Qualifying event for the final time this year, and like these two weekends it means the timetable is very different to the usual one. Qualifying, to set the grid for Saturday's Sprint Qualifying will take place on Friday at 16 local (20 CET) after just one hour of free practice to set up the cars at 12.30 (16.30 CET).

Interlagos is a medium-to-high downforce circuit, mainly due to its slower middle sector that has two low speed corners. However, engine power is also important as the first and third sectors have straights and flat out corners. Overtaking is definitely on the cards, which makes it popular with the drivers, even if they are well aware that it can be tricky, partly because of the bumpy nature of the track, which is built on soft clay soil. The races here are often spectacular with overtaking possible at the first corner and braking into the third turn where the DRS can be activated. Overtaking is even possible in the slower part but it's not for the fainthearted. The weather can make life complicated and sudden downpours have been known to turn the outcome of a race on its head. That could well be the case this weekend, as rain is forecast for every day.

Ferrari in Brazil

GP entered 47
Debut 1973 (A. Merzario 4th; J. Ickx 5th)
Wins 11 (23,40%)
Pole positions 7 (14.89%)
Fastest laps 7 (14,89%)
Total podiums 31 (21,98%)

Brazil in Numbers

3. The number of Brazilians who have driven for Scuderia Ferrari in Formula 1. The first was Francisco "Chico" Landi, who took part in the 1951 Italian Grand Prix at the wheel of a 375 F1. Then came Rubens Barrichello (102 races and 11 wins with the team between 2000 and 2005) and Felipe Massa (139 races with the team, 11 wins from 2006 to 2013). Felipe won his home race twice, in 2006 in the 248 F1 and again in 2008 in an F2008, when he was world champion for a few seconds, before Lewis Hamilton overtook Timo Glock to score enough points to win the title, while Felipe watched the dreams of an incredible comeback vanish into thin air.

6. The position occupied by Brazil in the list of the world's biggest populations. It has the most inhabitants - 214 million - in South America. Only China (1.4 billion), India (1.3 billion), United States (332 million), Indonesia (276 million) and Pakistan (224 million) have more.

8. The furthest back on the starting grid from which the Brazilian Grand Prix has been won. That honour went to Giancarlo Fisichella, driving a Jordan in 2003. Initially, after the race had been stopped because of an accident, Kimi Raikkonen was declared the winner, but then the stewards reviewed the result, it was found that the Italian had been first across the line prior to the race being stopped. The Finn presented Giancarlo with his trophy on track at the next round, the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. Carlos Sainz can lay claim to the longest route to the podium, when in 2019 he went from 20th on the grid to be classified third in the McLaren. However, he did not take part in the podium ceremony, as he inherited the position when Lewis Hamilton was given a penalty after the ceremony. However, later that evening Carlos and his entire team went up to the podium for a photo.

32. The average number of overtaking moves in the Brazilian Grand Prix. The most came in 2012 when Jenson Button won on a day when there were no fewer than 112 changes of position. 2005 was nowhere near as exciting, as there were just six passes in a race won by Juan Pablo Montoya.

101. The number of Formula 1 wins for Brazilian drivers. That makes Brazil the third most successful nation after Great Britain and Germany. 31 drivers have taken part in at least one Grand Prix, with six Brazilians winning at least one. The first of these came at the 1970 United States GP, courtesy of Emerson Fittipaldi in a Lotus, while the last was down to Rubens Barrichello in Italy in 2009, driving a Brawn GP. The most successful driver is Ayrton Senna, with three world titles (1988, 1990 and 1991) and 41 wins, Nelson Piquet is also a three-times winner of the championship (1981, 1983 and 1987), while Emerson Fittipaldi was crowned twice in 1972 and 1974.

This week in Ferrari history

10/11. In 1965, Edmund "Eddie" Irvine was born in Newtonards, Northern Ireland. One of the most engaging drivers in the paddock, he was fighting for the title right down to the final round, in an F399 in 1999. He was brought in as Michael Schumacher's team-mate in 1996 and when, three years later, the German broke his right leg during the British GP at Silverstone, he took on the mantle of number one driver. Alongside him came Mika Salo. He was the perfect team player, handing the win to Irvine in Germany, so that the Irishman was leading the championship by four points - the difference between first and second place - coming into the final round. Lying second was McLaren's Mika Hakkinen who had more wins to his name. The Finn won the race, which was enough to take the title by just two points from Irvine and even Schumacher, fully fit and back in the other Ferrari could do nothing about it. Irvine raced 65 times for Ferrari, taking four wins and 23 podium finishes.

11/11. Callum Ilott was born in 1998. The youngster from Cambridge, England, is the test driver for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy. This year, he is also the reserve driver for Alfa Romeo Racing in Formula 1, he has raced a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in the GT World Challenge for the Iron Lynx team and, in a 488 GTE he came third in the GTE-Am class in the Le Mans 24 Hours. He also made his IndyCar debut, taking part in three races with Juncos-Hollinger Racing.

12/11. The 2014 Finali Mondiali Ferrari got underway at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit. It was the first time the event had been held outside Europe and Kimi Raikkonen was the most eagerly awaited participant. On the final day, he put on a spectacular show for the crowd, with burnouts with all wheels smoking and plenty of full throttle passes. Quite by chance, he was at the wheel of the same F60 chassis with which he had won the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

13/11. In 1955, Phil Hill took his tenth win at the wheel of a Ferrari. It came at the Glendale circuit (United States) in a 750 Monza. The American, who went on to win the world championship in 1961 with the Scuderia, had started out racing sports cars and here too he was outstanding, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours three times, all with the Maranello marque.

14/11. In 2009, Felipe Massa drove an F60 at the Valencia circuit as part of the Finali Mondiali Ferrari. The Ferrari fans were delighted to see one of the most popular Scuderia drivers of all time, especially as this was a special day, with Felipe back in the cockpit for the first time since his serious accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix back on the 25 July of that year.

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Published: 10/11/2021
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