Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Preview - Alpine


A display of patience and precision was key to Esteban Ocon scoring one point in Mexico City last weekend. Esteban now heads to Sao Paulo for the final Sprint weekend of the year as he looks ahead to driving the legendary Interlagos.

How do you reflect on your weekend in Mexico?
Esteban Ocon: Overall, it was a tricky and challenging weekend in Mexico City. As a team, we came away with one point, which is probably in line with what we could have achieved. We clearly saw some key areas for us to improve during the weekend, especially on Sunday in terms of racing and overtaking. On my side, I had an up and down weekend which consisted of a strong and productive Friday, followed by a difficult Saturday, and ended with a tough but solid race on Sunday to come away with one, hard-earned point. We are already looking ahead to the final part of this triple-header this week in Brazil with the final Sprint of the season. We will be looking for a smoother weekend and a much-improved performance from the team.

What are your thoughts on Interlagos?
EO: I really enjoy coming to Brazil. It is a beautiful country which has so much history, knowledge, and passion for our sport. I am lucky to have a lot of support in Brazil and have even been given the nickname 'Oconzinho' from the fans there which is pretty cool. I am looking forward to seeing many of them at the track this weekend. The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace is a traditional racing track with an undulating high-speed layout that I really enjoy and has produced great racing in the past. It is another Sprint Race this weekend so it will be important to be on top of everything from the beginning. We will work hard to have a good weekend and hope to put on a good show for the Brazilian fans.

Pierre Gasly left Mexico City without points despite a battling effort in a challenging, red-flagged Grand Prix. Pierre looks ahead to Interlagos, the scene of a memorable podium back in 2019 for the Frenchman, as he sets his sights on another successful Sprint weekend in Sao Paulo.

What are your post-race thoughts after Mexico City?
Pierre Gasly: I left Mexico City with a feeling of disappointment as we did not score points, though, that was probably down to circumstances like the Safety Car and Red Flag timing. I think we certainly lacked pace compared to how we have fared at previous rounds and it was pretty difficult to fight for positions with overtaking proving very tricky. I felt we did a good job with what we had in our hands so, in that sense, I'm content with our effort. Mexico City was a tough track for us as a team, which did not not suit our package. Operationally, it was another smooth one for us but we have to keep pushing to find improvements and raise our competitiveness level.

How do you prepare for Sao Paulo?
PG: This Austin-Mexico City-Sao Paulo triple header is very tough for all of us in Formula 1. It's very intense plus with the addition that two of those weekends are Sprint events. To manage that intensity, I try to unwind when I can. For example, I've been playing a lot of golf - and that's not just in preparation for the Netflix Cup! I organised a football match with the team last week with Haas and that helps keep all of us fresh and brings togetherness within the team and, all the same time, it was very enjoyable. I'll definitely take some rest this week, train a little bit and then enter Friday ready to get going in the car. We have to be on it straight away as it's only one Practice session before Qualifying. That worked out well for us in Qatar and Austin, so I'm definitely feeling ready for it.

What do you like about racing at Interlagos?
PG: I have special memories there from the podium in 2019, that was an incredible race with the drag race to the line! In general, I love Brazil, I have friends there and it's just an amazing place. Interlagos, as a track, is iconic and a favourite in Formula 1. I do like the layout, it's short but has some cool corner combinations with a nice flow to it. The racing tends to be interesting there as years gone by have proved with the weather throwing up some surprises from time to time. I'm looking forward to it and I aim to finish this busy triple header on a high by returning to the points.

Sao Paulo Grand Prix Factfile

• The 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix will mark the 50th Formula 1 race to be held in Brazil and the 40th to be held at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. The circuit will become the seventh venue to have hosted 40 World Championship Grands Prix with Brazil becoming the 11th nation to have hosted 50 Formula 1 World Championship rounds

• Pierre secured his best finish at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in 2019, taking second in the Grand Prix to claim the first podium finish of his career, crossing the line 0.062s ahead of Lewis Hamilton in third

• Pierre is one of seven drivers on the current grid to have a podium finish at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace alongside Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and George Russell

• Esteban secured his best finish of eighth at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in both 2021 and 2022

• The Sao Paulo Grand Prix consists of 71 laps, the third highest lap count of the 2023 Formula 1 season alongside Austria and Mexico

• The original Interlagos Circuit layout was 7.96km in length but was shortened to its current 4.3km configuration in 1990 due to safety precautions and it being an unattainable track length. Rene Arnoux won the final race on the original layout for Renault in 1980

• The Enstone team clinched its most recent two Drivers' Championships (2005, 2006) and its most recent Constructors' Championship (2006) at Interlagos

• Esteban's tenth point-scoring Grand Prix of the 2023 season was his tenth-placed finish in the Mexico City Grand Prix last weekend

• Interlagos translates from Portuguese as “between the lakes”, a reference to the geographic features of the neighborhood. The circuit is officially known as the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, named for the hometown winner of the 1975 Brazilian GP, one of only six Brazilians to win a championship race

Renault reached 700 Grands Prix as a power unit supplier at Interlagos in 2022. The company's first appearance was at the 1977 British GP and have taken victories with a 1.5-litre V6 turbo, a 3.5-litre V10, a 3.0-litre V10, a 2.4-litre V8 and a 1.6-litre turbo hybrid V6

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Published: 01/11/2023
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