Next weekend’s race takes place on the classic Sao Paulo circuit, named after Jose Carlos Pace. The 4.3 kilometre-long strip of tarmac is famous for usually delivering unpredictable and exciting races. The layout features plenty of changes of gradient, which makes it particularly demanding for the drivers and it’s not short of overtaking opportunities, such as the first corner or in the braking zone for Turn 4. The pit straight and the “Reta Oposta,” or back straight, are both designated as DRS zones, which means slipstreaming comes into play.
The cars run in high downforce configuration, an absolute necessity for the slower, twisty sections, but at the same time the set-up should allow the cars to achieve a good top speed. One factor that assists in this is that the circuit is quite high up, even if the altitude is nowhere near as great as in Mexico City. The Interlagos track sits at 700 metres above sea-level, so that the air is more rarified. The transmission systems come in for a hard time, with a driver making around 3,200 gear changes during the race, so gearbox reliability is a key factor.
For this, the twentieth race of the season, Pirelli is bringing along the hardest compounds in its tyre range. Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz will dispose of one set of Orange Hard tyres, 4 sets of White Medium and 8 sets of Yellow Soft. The race is usually a tough one for car and driver alike and the weather can always be relied upon to throw up a few surprises.