Bruno Senna, Williams F1 Team
Interlagos is just so special for me. It’s in my home town, the fans are always supportive and there is so much history there, particularly for my family. It’s a fantastic place to end the season on a high. The track is pretty good too: the changes in gradient and camber through every turn — particularly the first corner where we’re almost diagonal across the track — give a little challenge so we need a very driveable engine, especially if it’s wet. The altitude makes the engine less powerful as there’s less oxygen in the air but you still need the same response and drive, especially on the long pit straight. We definitely spend a lot of time trying to get the right settings.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
Interlagos requires every engine characteristic to be on form and we work very hard to give good driveability through the twisty back section. Sector 2, in particular Turns 8, 9 and 10, require a driveable engine to avoid wheel spin on the exits of the bends. This will be particularly important this weekend with the predicted wet conditions.
The curved straight running from turn 12 past the pits and to the first corner also needs good acceleration, particularly as it sees the track go sharply uphill, with an elevation change just shy of 40m — just as you can really feel it when walking back from the grid, the engines will be straining on the edge of their power.
However the main story about Interlagos is the overall altitude of the circuit. The RS27 could produce around 8% less power than at a sea-level race so for these reasons we generally use engines with a higher mileage on their third race as power sensitivity is not so critical.
There are however some benefits to being at such high altitude; fuel consumption is a lot lower than sea level races and the drag reduces since the air the cars are ‘carving’ through is thinner. This means that you will see cars running what looks like a high downforce setting, but the downforce generated will only be equivalent to a medium wing level.
It’s not an easy one to finish the season on as there are a number of challenges we need to consider, but we feel ready for it and well prepared.