Category Archives: Brazil

Formula One: Pirelli Race Review + Infographics: Brazil

GP BRASILE F1/2015

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Brazilian Grand Prix with a three-stop strategy, running one stint on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre followed by three remaining stints on the P Zero White medium tyre.

Rosberg was able to hold off his team mate Lewis Hamilton – on a similar strategy – from start to finish, maintaining his advantage from lights to flag without losing the effective lead of the race. Track temperatures remained warm, albeit cooler than the 50 degrees seen during qualifying, while the threatened rain did not occur. The track temperature progressively dropped however throughout the race, ending up at 35 degrees, which reduced wear and degradation in the later stages.

The top three all used a three-stop strategy, but there was a wide variety of tactics at work behind them. The highest-placed two-stopper by the end of the race was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who used the strategy to gain fourth by the end of the grand prix, finishing just off the podium behind his Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel.

All the drivers started on the soft tyre with the exception of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan completed a long opening stint on his medium tyres, while Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg completed an even longer closing stint with the same compound – underlining the variety of strategic thinking in the closely fought race. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo also adopted an alternative strategy to climb seven places from his grid position, switching from soft to medium on lap two.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “With weather conditions warm but uncertain, strategy was always going to be a key element of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Rosberg’s considered approach to tyre management over the course of the whole weekend once again proved to be a key element of his victory, which was very well deserved. However, there were a number of drivers operating a two-stop race. We saw some long stints on the medium compound that helped drivers gain track position.”

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Formula One: Mercedes changes have swung towards Nico

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Following another Mercedes 1-2 the drivers and team directors offer their thoughts:

Nico Rosberg
Wow – another great win in front of another great crowd! I’m so happy with that one – especially at this great circuit with all this history, which makes it extra fun. It was a perfect weekend for me. I was able to control the race the whole time and won with a comfortable margin to Lewis in the end. The team made a good decision to switch to a three-stop race as we saw that Lewis’ tyres went off very quickly. I look forward now to Abu Dhabi where I’ll be pushing to end the season on a high. It’s good to have secured P2 in the Championship in front of Sebastian today – but that’s never really been my ambition. I want to be first, so I need to raise my game as this year it wasn’t high enough. I want to remember at this moment also that we have to put our sport in a different perspective after the incident in Paris. My thoughts are very much still with the family and friends of the people involved.

Lewis Hamilton
I felt good out there today. I was pushing like crazy and genuinely had nothing left. I really love this track but it’s so difficult to overtake. I was all over Nico but couldn’t get past as the DRS Zone sadly just wasn’t long enough. It would be great to do something different strategy-wise once in a while to mix it up – but as drivers we rely on the team. They do so many simulations that they know what’s best. The three-stop strategy was slower but the tyres wouldn’t have lasted, so it was the right decision. At the end of the day, Nico drove a fantastic race and he’s done a great job in qualifying recently too. Since Singapore the car has changed a bit which seems to have swung it towards him – but I just need to get my head down, work out why that is and get back on top of it for the final race. It has been fantastic being here in Brazil with these amazing fans. There is a lot of love in their hearts. Thank you to the organizers for a great event and see you next year!

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
A fantastic 1-2 finish for the team this afternoon and a great feeling to see Nico secure P2 in the Championship with this win. He put in a faultless performance this weekend with a strong pole position lap and then a beautiful drive today. For Lewis, running P2 was always going to be difficult at this track. As soon as you get close to the car in front, you lose downforce and the tyres start dropping off. When that happened in the second stint he asked about an alternative strategy. But the only option was to convert to three stops which was ten seconds slower in terms of overall race time and would have put his second place at risk to Vettel. Then, the situation changed in our favour when Vettel converted to a three-stop strategy, which allowed us to do the same and control any threat from behind to the end of the race. The boys were pushing flat out to the finish but Nico was able to manage the gap to the end to take a well-deserved win. We’re looking forward to seeing this season’s final installment of the battle between Lewis and Nico in two weeks’ time in Abu Dhabi.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
Congratulations to Nico who delivered a perfect weekend here in Brazil. He won the race through a great qualifying lap yesterday and consolidated that with a tremendously controlled drive today. Unfortunately for Lewis, he couldn’t counter that and spent the afternoon chasing hard – unable to quite get close enough to try and overtake Nico on track. To us, it seemed a very exciting race as both drivers fought over fractions of a second lap after lap, putting each other under immense and sustained pressure. We originally planned to do a two-stop strategy but eventually converted to a three-stop strategy to shadow Sebastian in third place, even though the three-stopper was about 10 seconds slower overall. But with the relatively slender margin we had to the Ferrari, it was much safer to mimic his stops. There was a point in the second stint when Lewis asked if anything could be done about a different strategy, but the only alternative at that point was the slower three-stopper, with others looking like they were two-stopping, and we didn’t want to risk handing second place to Ferrari. Our policy is to let our drivers race and also to allow them to explore viable alternative strategies, as we have shown in the past – but we don’t let them pursue a bad alternative strategy at any cost. Needless to say, it’s fantastic to take a 15th race win and 11th one-two finish of the season; and it was just as satisfying to see Jimmy on the podium for his 50th birthday. He’s part of the fabric of our team and of the paddock as a whole, and it was nice to be able to recognise him with a visit to the rostrum.

Formula One: Five on the bonce for Nico!

GP BRASILE F1/2015

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has set pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tyre, nominated together with the P Zero White medium this weekend. With just over a second separating the two compounds, a number of different strategies are possible for the race tomorrow.
Many competitors are expected to stop twice, but a three-stopper is also very possible. With only a small percentage probability of rain at the start of qualifying, the track remained dry throughout all three sessions. Dry weather should be the case for tomorrow’s race as well, with the short lap and heavy traffic around Interlagos making strategy all the more important when it comes to gaining track position.
Just a tenth of a second separated the two Mercedes drivers in this morning’s final free practice session and their battle continued throughout qualifying. All the drivers completed Q1 on the soft tyre (with all but two of them having run a set of mediums at the start of the session). Qualifying then continued using only the soft compound, as the drivers prioritised saving the more durable medium for the race. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus) did not use any medium tyres during the qualifying session at all.
Lap times were generally slower than they had been in the equivalent sessions last year, mostly due to the new kerbs at Interlagos, which are much higher than they used to be and do not allow the drivers to go over them.
Track temperatures peaked at 50 degrees centigrade for the all-important top 10 shoot out: the hottest seen all weekend. Most drivers completed two runs in Q3, using a set of fresh soft tyres for the final run that decided pole – which went to Rosberg for the fifth consecutive time.

Nico Rosberg
“I didn’t have a good start in to Qualifying. Q1 and Q2 didn’t go to plan. But then I found a better rhythm in the final session, so I was happy to bring it all together in Q3. It feels great to be on pole again here. It’s the best possible position to start the race, I have the quickest car and on Friday we were able to practise a lot for the race, so I’m quite confident for tomorrow. It will be a good battle with Lewis and also the Ferraris, so I can’t wait for that. But what happened yesterday in Paris makes everything else relative. What we do here is really not important compared to that and I’m thinking of them today.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:

“Although Interlagos takes a lot out of the tyres, which is why we’re expecting two or three stops tomorrow, the wear and degradation levels are where we would expect them to be at during this stage of the weekend. The biggest factor in the lap time has appeared to be the new layout with the kerbs, which the drivers have had to get used to since they experienced them for the first time yesterday. Track temperatures have been warm, but still nothing like the very hot conditions we found last year in qualifying. With quite a clear performance gap between the two compounds and dry weather, we’re set for a few different strategy options tomorrow, which the teams will be calculating carefully tonight.”

The Pirelli strategy predictor:
With wear and degradation levels lower than one year ago on this circuit, two different two-stop strategies are theoretically the quickest options for the 71-lap race tomorrow, although a three-stop is possible as well, depending on factors such as traffic and track position. A three-stopper would be: start on the soft tyre and then change to soft again on laps 15 and 30, before moving to mediums on lap 46 to the end. The two quickest two-stoppers are: start on soft, change to medium on lap 17, medium again on lap 44. Alternatively: start on medium, change to soft on lap 27 and then medium on lap 44. The time difference between these three strategies is minimal

Formula One: Circuit slower than in 2014 – Free Practice Round Up

GP BRASILE F1/2015

Mercedes drivers went first and second in both free practice sessions at Interlagos, with Lewis Hamilton using the P Zero White medium tyre to go quickest in the morning and Nico Rosberg setting fastest time of the day on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre in the afternoon.

Today was the first opportunity that the teams had to assess tyre wear and degradation on each compound heading into the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend: traditionally a key factor, due to the constant cornering during a short but frenetic and bumpy lap.

As is often the case at Sao Paulo, the weather conditions were inconsistent, with warm track temperatures in the morning but light rain at lunchtime, which dried up before the start of FP2.

The drivers used the morning FP1 session to reacclimatise to the track and determine the behaviour of the medium tyre, in ambient temperatures close to 30 degrees centigrade. In the afternoon, both the medium and soft tyres were used during FP2: complete with some long runs to assess wear and degradation on each compound with different fuel loads. With a high risk of rain returning, the teams were all straight out on track in FP2, aiming to maximise the opportunity of collecting useful data.

The session times were slower than their equivalents in 2014, due to a dirty surface and some damaged kerbs to last year, which meant that the drivers modified their lines in order to avoid them.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: “Friday’s two free practice sessions followed the established pattern of running, although the threat of rain – which never really materialised – perhaps added a certain pressure on teams to gather as much information as quickly as possible. We’ve certainly got plenty of data to analyse now, and while wear and degradation is typically high in Brazil, we are not noticing anything out of the ordinary from a tyre perspective so far. The track is still evolving so tomorrow’s comparative data will be interesting too, but we should be in for a busy race with plenty of strategies and pit stops. As always, the unknown factor seems to be the weather.”
FP1:
1.Hamilton 1m13.543s Medium new
2.Rosberg 1m14.062s Medium used
3.Vettel 1m14.168s Medium used

FP2:

1.Rosberg 1m12.385s Soft new

2.Hamilton 1m12.843s Soft new

3.Vettel 1m13.345s Soft new

Formula One: Can Rossi make it 5-0?

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This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix will mark Alexander Rossi’s last Formula One race of the 2015 season, with the American returning to GP2 with Racing Engineering for the closing rounds of the season in a bid to secure a strong 2nd position in the championship.

Rossi can return to GP2 with his head held high having exceeded any expectations the F1 world may have placed upon him having outperformed his team mate, Will Stevens, 4-0 in races and thus far sharing the honours in qualifying.

Rossi’s place on the F1 grid in Singapore, Japan, the United States, and Mexico has served to increase interest in the sport across the US both with fans and business. With a soon to be five races under his belt, a healthy sponsorship portfolio and an open door into the American market, Rossi must be a strong contender for a full time seat with the Manor F1 team for 2016.

The prospect of a wet weekend in Brazil may allow Rossi and the Manor F1 team to dare to dream of those elusive first points of the year.

In this short preview filmed for Mobil 1 The Grid, Rossi previews the Brazilian Grand Prix, talking through his experiences at the circuit dating back to 2008 and his time in Formula BMW:

To celebrate Alexander Rossi’s time with Manor F1 team in 2015, Mobil 1 The Grid have launched a competition to win a special edition cap signed by the driver, to enter the competition follow this link for more details.

Formula One: Pirelli predict a 2-3 stop race at the rear right limited Brazilian Grand Prix

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The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft compound have been nominated for this year’s Brazilian Grand Prix: the most popular combination of the season, which has been selected for the ninth and final time in 2015.
Brazil is one of the shortest but most intense laps of the year, with the circuit running in an anti-clockwise direction, which is quite unusual in Formula One. There is plenty of work for both the tyres and the drivers – as the Interlagos track requires a high degree of physical effort – and the situation is often made more complex by variable weather conditions. Last year, the hottest track temperatures recorded all season were in Brazil, but the race has also been affected by heavy rain in the past. If it remains dry, Interlagos is ideal territory for the versatile medium and soft slick compounds.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Interlagos is one of those historic venues that has helped to shape the history of Formula One, so it’s a pleasure to come here and experience once more the unique atmosphere and passion from the local fans, at the end of what is our first American triple header in Formula One, with races in the United States, Mexico and now Brazil. South America and Brazil in particular is one of Pirelli’s biggest global markets, so this is a particularly important race for us, as we are so widely represented here. The changes to the asphalt at Interlagos last year altered the pattern of tyre behaviour, so it will be interesting to see how that affects tyre usage this year. Traditionally, Interlagos is quite a high-energy circuit for tyres, so we would expect to see two or three pit stops for the majority of competitors. As always though, we will only have an accurate picture of the real situation after the opening free practice sessions on Friday.”

The biggest challenges for the tyres:
The re-asphalting of the circuit last year changed the abrasion levels of the surface, and it is also possible that there will be some additional patches of new asphalt again this year. Other improvements to the circuit this year include a new pit complex.

The circuit is rear-limited, with the right-rear tyre being the most stressed due to the anti-clockwise layout – which is also the case at the next and final venue on the calendar, in Abu Dhabi.

Tyres are often subjected to combined forces at Interlagos: in other words lateral and longitudinal demands at the same time. This raises the temperature of the compound. Downforce levels are generally high, with aerodynamic and mechanical grip requirements roughly in equal proportion.

Last year’s strategy and how the race was won: There was heatwave last year, so this was not entirely typical of what we would expect to see this time. In 2014, Nico Rosberg won the race for Mercedes using a three-stop strategy. He started on the soft tyre and then changed to the medium on laps seven, 26 and 50. The highest-placed two-stopper, Kimi Raikkonen, finished seventh.

Expected performance gap between the two compounds: 0.9 seconds per lap.

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Formula One: Riccardo is no fan of the Interlagos circuit

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Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo offers his take on the Brazilian GP

So Daniel, Brazil up next, what’s the secret to a great lap of the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace?

Don’t ask me, I don’t know – I don’t think I’ve ever done one, so I’ve got no secrets! What I have learned is that you shouldn’t think ahead too much. You have to take it corner-by-corner and concentrate on the one you’re in. There’s not many that you string together. There’s not many corners full stop.

It’s not your favourite circuit is it?

What gave it away? No, Brazil’s a wonderful grand prix with a great atmosphere in an exciting city but the track doesn’t really do it for me. There’s just not a corner that gives you any real satisfaction. I don’t want to make it sound dull, because it isn’t, but like Russia, there isn’t a corner that makes you go Woooo-Hoooo! It needs a few more corners and something really high speed. There’s a couple that look good on paper but because of the cambers, you never really have the grip to go barrelling in. The crowd really gets your heart-rate up before the sessions, so you want to be really on it but instead have to be very patient.

What about the crowd, you must hear them at the start

Oh yeah. The start-finish straight is very narrow, so if your grid slot is on the outside, you’re about two metres away from the grandstand. You better hope they like you because if not you’re a pretty easy target when you’re pulling your helmet on! It’s a good time though. Lots of noise, lots of airhorns, trumpets, drums. Like Mexico, it’s the crowd you want for a grand prix. Brazilians are cool

How about away from the track, what do you do?

Food! Amazing restaurants. Last year we went to Restaurante Figueira Rubaiyat, with the fig tree growing through the middle of the dining room. That was pretty special. Sadly, it not being the season finale, I can’t really indulge – but I can watch other people