Posted By F1 Fast Lap

 São Paulo

Race Date:
09 Nov 2014
Circuit Name:
Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
First Grand Prix:
Number of Laps:
Circuit Length:
4.309 km
Race Distance:
305.909 km
Lap Record:
1:11.473 - JP Montoya (2004)
In 1938 a huge plot of land was bought in Sao Paulo by two local property developers who intended to build a large housing development. It soon became clear, however, that one part of the land was not suitable for housing and so they decided to build a racing circuit instead. Sao Paulo grew at an incredible speed though and soon the circuit was surrounded by houses.

When, in the 1970s, Emerson Fittipaldi began to have international success, the Brazilians started to want a Grand Prix. In 1971 and 1972 Interlagos hosted non-championship events but in 1973 the track staged its first championship Grand Prix. The track became a lucky charm for local racers, Fittipaldi, Carlos Pace and Carlos Reutemann all taking the spoils of victory in the 1970s. Interlagos was the scene of Pace's first and only Formula One triumph, and following his death in a plane crash the circuit was renamed in his honour.

In 1978 the Grand Prix moved to Rio, but in 1979 Interlagos got its race back. By 1981, however, Rio had retaken the Grand Prix, Sao Paulo's slums being at odds with the glamorous image Formula One wanted to portray. When a $15m redevelopment programme was agreed in the heyday of Ayrton Senna, a Sao Paulo local, the race finally switched back to Interlagos.
And there it has stayed. Since Senna's death there has been no Brazilian world champion, but the passion of the Brazilian fans keeps the sport coming back every year.

Race start is in the "Tribunas" section and features a pretty long straight section, then comes "S do Senna" ("Senna's S") [Turns 1 & 2], a series of turns (left, right, then left again) that are considered extremely difficult because each of them has a different angle, a different radius, a different length, a different inclination (inward or outward) and a different shape (besides the terrain goes down and then up again).

"Senna's S" connects with "Curva do Sol" ("Sun Turn"), a round-shaped large-radius left-turn that leads to "Reta Oposta" ("Opposite Straight", a reference to the disused longer back straight of the pre-1990 circuit, to which it runs parallel), the track's longest (but not the fastest) straight. Reta Oposta is succeeded by a pair of downhill left turns that are called "Descida do Lago" ("Lake Descent") [4 & 5] into a short straight sector that goes down again.

This is followed by a slow and difficult section, with small, kart-like turns and elevation changes. These turns are "Ferradura" ("Horseshoe") downhill and right into "Laranjinha" ("Little Orange"), another right (the slowest point of the circuit); then the right-hand Turn 8 leads into "Pinheirinho" ("Small Pine Tree"), left on a plain field; "Bico de Pato" ("Duck Bill") a right-hand turn complex (first, an easy right kink into the tighter-radius near-hairpin give the distinctive turn its shape and name); and then "Mergulho" ("Dive"), a constant-radius left-hand turn that slings the driver straight into a harder left at "Junção" ("Junction").

Turn 13, a left up-hill kink, marks the start of the long, thrilling and dangerous top-speed section. Rising up through "Subida dos Boxes" ("Up to the Pits"), the driver encounters a long left turn that sometimes seems straight and sometimes bends in more clearly. As the name implies, Subida dos Boxes is uphill (quite steep, indeed) and demands a lot of power from the cars. At the end of it, Arquibancadas ("Bleachers") forms the end of what was once called "Cotovelo" ("Elbow"). At this point the track seems inclined inwards (or somewhat crooked) as the cars approach top speed back through the "Tribunas" straight. The series of left turns from the exit of Junção all the way to Turn 1 into Senna's S is typically taken at full throttle and treated as a long straight. (This section is known as one of the longest full-throttle stretches on the Formula 1 calendar, and thus demanding of the engine's reliability at sustained high RPM and torque. Other notable stretches of this nature are the "Rettifilo Tribune" straight at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza and the Kemmel Straight at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.)

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