TEN FACTS: The Brazilian Grand Prix

1024px-Autódromo_José_Carlos_Pace_(AKA_Interlagos)_track_map.svgThe Brazilian Grand Prix has grown to be a classic and the country’s affiliation with Formula 1 is almost as timeless as the sport itself. As F1 fans bask in the glory of back-to-back weekends, here are the ten facts you need to know about the circuit, its drivers and the history of the Brazilian round…

  1. The inaugural Brazilian Grand Prix was held at Interlagos in February 1973 and was won by a home favourite, fittingly enough. Although Ronnie Peterson was the pole-sitter, Emerson Fittipaldi charged to the win for Lotus. A 1972 race was contested but did not feature in the World Championship.
  2. The Interlagos circuit, as it is most commonly known, is named after a fallen Brazilian driver. The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace is named in honour of the 1975 winner following his death but rarely goes by this name. He was 32 when he was killed in a plane crash in 1977.
  3. The lap record is held by Juan Pablo Montoya with Williams BMW in 2004. The Venezuelan’s time, a 1:11.473s, was set on the modern layout which first came into use in 1990. It is 4.309km in length and boasts 15 corners in an unusual and challenging format. This makes it the second shortest circuit on the calendar with Monaco being the first.
  4. In 1981, the Brazilian Grand Prix moved temporarily to Jacarepagua circuit in Rio de Janerio. After a costly development – somewhere in the region of US$15 million – F1 had returned to its grand stage in Interlagos by 1990. Alain Prost won five of these nine races, four with McLaren during their TAG and Honda days.
  5. Brazil has a long-standing history in F1 and its driver line-up is no exception. Indeed, 30 Brazilian divers have contested one or more Grand Prix, of which three have won titles. Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet share this prestigious honour. Although he has contested more races than any other in history, Rubens Barrichello did not secure victory in front of his home crowd.
  6. It was instead Senna who set a milestone at Interlagos. His 1993 victory was McLaren’s 100th. The late three time champion also holds the record for the most pole positions at the circuit with a commendable six. Four of these were consecutive – between the years 1988 and 1991 – a feat few other drivers have achieved elsewhere.
  7. In all its appearances on the F1 calendar, just 11 races at Interlagos have been won from pole gifting the circuit with a ratio around 30%. Giancarlo Fisichella won from eighth in 2003 in controversial circumstances after an early red flagged halted the race. This is the lowest position from which a Brazilian Grand Prix has been won.
  8. The five world champions currently on the grid – Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel – have all secured a title at the circuit ensuring its longevity and popularity within F1. However, it is unlikely that the championship will be decided this weekend with double points in Abu Dhabi affecting strategies this year.
  9. Lewis Hamilton could well win the championship this year but he is yet to win at th
    e Brazilian circuit.
    Felipe Massa won the 2008 event but this was not enough to keep a fast-finishing Hamilton at bay. Fernando Alonso is also without a win in Brazil but a victory this weekend could prove enough to secure his 2015 future.
  10. Moving to constructors, McLaren is the most successful on the Brazilian tarmac with 12 wins. Ferrari has 10 and Red Bull, three. Red Bull won four of the last five races in Brazil during their dominant reign in the V8 engine era.

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