After the hi-tech modernity of Abu Dhabi, the paddock heads back to one of the classic venues for the final round of the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship and Sao Paulo’s Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos. It’s been the venue for plenty of drama over the years, and don’t expect this season to be any different. The teams and drivers explain what makes it so special… Felipe Massa, Ferrari 2010 Qualifying - 9th, 2010 Race - 15th “This will be a very important weekend for me, as it will also mark the end of the tenth year since I first raced in Formula One, although not ten years of competition, as I was a Ferrari test driver in 2003. Fortunately, I am still young and there is more to come, but ten years is still a landmark in an F1 driver’s career. Then there are my six years racing for the Scuderia, competing in one hundred Grands Prix for the team, which makes me one of the drivers who has raced the most for this team. Therefore, putting it all together, ten years of Formula One, 100 races with Ferrari and all of it at home in Brazil, makes this something really special for me. It will be an emotional time and what I would like to add to it all would be a good result come Sunday afternoon. ”Adrian Sutil, Force India 2010 Qualifying - 18th, 2010 Race - 12th “I think we should be strong in Interlagos, too. In Abu Dhabi we achieved the maximum because the cars ahead of us were too quick, so we have to aim for the same this weekend. Personally I would love to finish ninth in the drivers’ championship and to do that I need to score at least four points. It’s always a really special race. The crowd is very loud and they create an amazing atmosphere. Even when you are driving the car you can hear the crowd cheering. As for my results there, I have both good and bad memories. 2009 was great when I qualified third on the grid, but in the race things did not go to plan. In fact, I’ve never had much luck racing in Brazil and I’ve yet to score a point at Interlagos. I really want to change that this year!” Paul Di Resta, Force India 2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a “I’ve never driven there, although I was there last year as reserve driver. So I’ve seen the place and walked the track, but nothing more. It looks like quite a tricky circuit because it’s undulating and there are some unusual corners. It’s anti-clockwise, too, so that always makes it more physically demanding. Yes, we have a comfortable gap over Sauber and Toro Rosso in the championship, but we still need to be aggressive and keep pushing. Renault are not too far ahead of us, although catching them will require quite an unusual race and a bit of luck, too. We need to pick up where we left off in Abu Dhabi so that we can hopefully have another double points finish – that would be an excellent way to end the season.” Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal “Over the years Interlagos has delivered some spectacular racing action and I have no doubt we will see more of the same this year. It’s a classic race on a calendar that presents plenty of challenges and I’m confident that we can maintain the form we showed in Abu Dhabi. After a long season I would love to sign off the year in style with both my cars in the points. I think 2011 has been our most complete season yet. We’ve developed a car that has been strong in all areas and we’ve given some of the bigger teams a run for their money. I’m proud of what we have achieved, which is a testament to the dedication and commitment of all the team members. If we can secure sixth in the championship this weekend, it will be a key milestone in the history of this team because the competitiveness of the Formula One grid is as intense as I can remember.” Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director "Preparations for the 2012 season are well underway, so it will be really interesting to hear the thoughts of the drivers about the new hard and soft tyres that we will be trying out in Brazil. We've already collected plenty of information on the new soft tyre from the young driver test, so it will be useful to compare that to real race data. "It's important not to get too distracted by the names of the tyres though: what we're calling a 'soft' for now could end up as a medium for next year, as that's what the testing process is all about. In general, the tyres are going to be less conservative next year as the second half of this season has shown how well the teams have understood our product, allowing us to make some reasonably aggressive choices such as supersoft and soft for Korea. We're delighted to be ending the season in Brazil: not only is it a legendary circuit with an amazing atmosphere but it is also a key market for Pirelli." Rubens Barrichello, Williams 2010 Qualifying - 6th, 2010 Race - 14th “Brazil: it’s the best week and race of the year for me. It always goes by so fast but I try to enjoy every little second of it. I love the racing track, especially the Laranjinha corner with it is double apexes. Interlagos has always been very good for overtaking and I expect nothing different this year. For a quick lap you need a combination of good brakes, good traction and good engine power. I am looking for a positive end to the season with a points finish.” Pastor Maldonado, Williams 2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a “It will be my first time racing in Brazil, although I have visited the country once before and loved it. It will be an interesting race for me because it is the closest one to my home country, so I hope to have lots of Venezuelan fans and support for me there. I really like the look of the Interlagos track and, having spent time driving it in the simulator, I think it is very fast and I am going to really enjoy it.” Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer “As a team we need to have a quick turnaround between the Abu Dhabi test and Brazil. We are expecting mid-20 degrees Celsius ambient and mid-30s track temperatures. There is also a chance of rain, which if it comes, tends to be heavy. The Interlagos track is a classical 'two circuits in one' layout, with set-up always being a compromise between the long uphill run from T12 to the start-finish line and the medium-low speed corners within Sector 2. Both fuel effect and consumption are low for this 71 lap race so the fuel mass is low at the start of the race relative to the majority of tracks during the season. We will have the medium and soft Pirelli tyres this weekend, as last used at the Abu Dhabi race. We will also have two sets of development dry tyres for Friday’s running.” Timo Glock, Virgin 2010 Qualifying - 19th, 2010 Race - 20th “I really enjoy racing at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo. Even though it’s not a very long lap, it is one of the most demanding challenges on the F1 calendar, with some great corners - for example Turn 6, an uphill double right hander, which is fast and blind. The car has to be stable through the twisty middle section as well as being quick on the straights, so a good balance will be key. “It’s a really fun track to drive and I would say it’s one of the best circuits of the year in terms of the atmosphere. The Brazilian spectators are passionate about racing and it really is amazing to drive here. I can’t believe it’s already the last race of the season - the year has raced by and I hope to end the season with a positive result.” Jerome d’Ambrosio, Virgin 2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a “The last race of the season takes place at the fantastic track Interlagos. The last section, the stadium, is really impressive and great to drive, as well as the Senna S and Turns 6 and 7. As with Abu Dhabi, it’s another anti-clockwise track, making it a total of five in the season. “The Brazilian Grand Prix is also known for its unpredictable weather - I always remember the qualifying session in 2009 where it looked like it was never going to stop raining! So you never know what to expect here, which makes it an even more exciting weekend.” John Booth, Virgin team principal “I always look forward to the Brazilian Grand Prix. It has provided some excellent racing in both wet and dry conditions in the last few years. It’s a unique track: the anti-clockwise layout, the bumpy surface and the famous Senna S make it a true test of driver skill and a real challenge for the drivers. “This is of course the final race in what has been a tough but eventful year for the team. We’ve put an awful lot in place for the future however and whilst it’s always sad to end one season, I’m already looking forward to the next. “Reliability has been the watchword of our 2011 campaign but, disappointingly, we have experienced a couple of problems in the last two races which have prevented us achieving the two car finish that we have been consistently racking up through the year. I hope we can reverse that situation and end 2011 on a high by getting both cars to the finish next weekend.” Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull 2010 Qualifying - 2nd, 2010 Race - 1st “Brazil is going to be exciting because Interlagos is known for its passionate fans, anti-clockwise driving and the extreme altitude of the track. Sao Paulo is about 1000 metres above sea level, which costs us some power. The long left corners are a strain on our neck muscles because the track is anti-clockwise, which is opposite to normal. That’s why I usually do some special training before Sao Paulo to get my muscles used to it. One of the best overtaking places is in the first chicane, the so-called Senna S. It’s perfect for braking as you can drive in the slipstream of the car in front, to be able to pass. One important thing is, if it rains, which is certainly possible in Sao Paulo, aquaplaning can be extreme here.” Mark Webber, Red Bull 2010 Qualifying - 3rd, 2010 Race - 2nd “Brazil is one of the best races of the year. It’s a track which reminds me of Brands Hatch and the Formula Ford racing there because it’s a like a bowl in terms of the atmosphere. The Brazilian people love their motorsport and are extremely passionate about it, obviously off the back of Piquet, Senna, Fittipaldi and Rubens - they’ve had some really great drivers. There are nice memories for me from Brazil. I’ve always done well there so I hope I can get a nice result, it would be a great way to end the season with a good last race.” Lewis Hamilton, McLaren 2010 Qualifying - 4th, 2010 Race - 4th “Winning in Abu Dhabi last week was a fantastic feeling, and it’s made me even more determined to finish the 2011 season with a victory. It would be great to go into the winter off the back of another win, so that’ll be my aim next weekend. It’s rare for there to be a straightforward race at Interlagos - particularly if the weather plays a role. I hear it’s been raining heavily in Sao Paulo at the moment - if it rains on Sunday, anything could happen. I remember having one of my best races in Formula 1 there in 2009 when I qualified 17th in seriously wet conditions, but raced up to third by the chequered flag. I spent the whole race overtaking people - it was brilliant. Of course, for Jenson and myself, Interlagos is the circuit where we won the world championship, so it will always hold some happy memories for us. In fact, I’ve only been here once [in 2009] when I wasn’t in contention for the championship. This year, with both titles already wrapped up, I want to enjoy myself: and I think we have the car to once again make a difference - we’ll pick up where we left off in Abu Dhabi, I hope. I think we’re all set for a great end to the 2011 championship: Interlagos is a fantastic circuit, one of the best on the calendar, and I think the combination of KERS Hybrid and DRS, plus the possibility of wet weather, mean we’re all set for a fascinating race.” Jenson Button, McLaren 2010 Qualifying - 11th, 2010 Race - 5th “You’re struck by the sense of history whenever you go to Interlagos. There’s the bust of Carlos Pace on the way in to the circuit, and so many great drivers have come from here - including two McLaren world champions, Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna. It’s such a unique place: it’s always an exciting experience to be racing around in the bowl with the packed grandstands looking down on you. There are a lot of physical challenges to overcome at Interlagos. It’s a busy lap with a lot of corners and gradients. I can only imagine what it must have been like to race here in the 1970s when it was twice as long but still packed into the same amount of space. Although it’s not the only anti-clockwise circuit on the calendar, the combination of bumps, gradients and corner speeds put a lot of stress on neck muscles that are more used to turning right than turning left. KERS Hybrid will play an important role at this circuit because there is quite a short drag from the start line to the first corner. Towards the end of the lap you’ve got a long uphill section out of the final corner and the power will certainly help there, too. And, if you can’t get past into the first corner, then I definitely think you’ll be able to close up along the start/finish straight and then have a look at passing on the short straight ahead of Turn Four, using DRS. I think we proved in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes still wants to win races even though both championships are now settled. Certainly I’m determined to win my fourth grand prix of the year, even if it means fighting all the way to the last lap of the last race.” Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal “While everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is extremely proud of Lewis’s dominant victory in Abu Dhabi, we’ve already switched focus to Brazil and are relishing the prospect of taking home back-to-back wins with which to end our 2011 season. Many of the recent races in Brazil have been complex, fascinating and gripping, particularly for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: in 2007, we came within a hair’s breadth of winning the title with either driver; the following year, Lewis so memorably snatched the title at the very final corner; in ’09, as Jenson blazed to the title, while Lewis drove with incredible commitment to finish on the podium. Last year, we held on to our championship aspirations with a double points finish. A victory here would be particularly satisfying. In fact, we’re keen to take our seventh win of the season here. Lewis and Jenson have now scored three wins apiece this year and each of them are equally motivated to take their fourth. From a team management perspective, that’s an excellent position for us to be in.” Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus 2010 Qualifying - 21st, 2010 Race - 18th “This has been a long, hard season and it will be good to bring it to an end in Brazil, but for me this has been one of the best seasons I have had in motor racing. As the team keeps growing and keeps developing I’ve just had to make sure I am driving as hard as I can, and every time I get out of the car I’ve been satisfied that I couldn’t get any more out of it, so I can’t really do any more than that. There is a great spirit in this team - we are definitely going in the right direction, so we will all look back on this year as another step forward, and then make sure we keep that momentum up as soon as we hit the track in 2012. For Brazil there’s no reason why we can’t have another very strong weekend. We have a new rear wing that should give us a bit more quali and race pace, and we have the same medium and soft tyre compounds we used in Abu Dhabi, so we should be able to put in the same kind of performances we showed there and in several races before.” Jarno Trulli, Lotus 2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - 19th “Brazil is a track I always look forward to but one I’ve never been too lucky at. It’s one of the old style tracks, not the stop / start long straight / tight turn we see at a lot of the modern circuits - it’s the sort of place you can build up a good rhythm as it’s a mix of high speed turns merging into slower corners and from inside the cockpit that feels good. I want to try and finish the season as well as I can - the car has felt good in the races and with the update we have to the rear wing I think we can finish the season with a step forward in qualifying, so let’s see what happens.” Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal “The Brazilian Grand Prix is a very important race for us for a number of reasons. On track we still have a fight ahead of us to secure our primary goal of the season, and we will also be saying goodbye to Team Lotus. Our stewardship of Team Lotus will come to an end in mid-December. In our short time as custodians of the brand we have had highs and lows but the fundamental point is that we brought Lotus back into Formula One and we did it in the right style. We have built up our Formula One team and all our associated businesses from a starting point of an empty factory in Norfolk in just two years, and now we have secured our future and are in control of our own destiny, and therefore we have achieved our first goal. After this race we will say goodbye to Team Lotus with very fond memories and then we will look forward to next year when the Caterham F1 Team will signal the start of the next chapter of our very exciting story.” Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer "We head to Brazil in good spirits after a long year but we have enjoyed a strong latter part of the season. We have been pushing ahead since Singapore, and there will not be one person in the team taking their foot off the gas until we see both cars cross the line on Sunday ahead of the teams behind us. Our progress on track has been clear to see and another sign of our on-going development this year is the fact we are bringing a new rear wing to Brazil. Our race pace has been good all season, but we have not been able to match that in qualifying, and the update to the rear wing is designed to help us do that by improving the efficiency of our DRS system. In simple terms, because DRS can be used anywhere on track in qualifying our performances in Q1 have not matched our race performances where DRS usage is limited, and bringing a new wing that gives us more downforce and improves the efficiency of the system should see us being able to close the gap in qualifying to the cars ahead compared to the previous races. Last year we had stopped development on the T127 halfway through the season and this year we have new parts right up to the final race and that is how we will be operating next year and for many seasons to come.” Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber 2010 Qualifying - 12th, 2010 Race - 10th “Sao Paulo is one of my favorite tracks with a nice combination of high speed and low speed corners. Overall, the track layout with its long uphill straight is very nice. The most thrilling aspect of the Brazilian Grand Prix is the fans who are very excited and emotional, and who create a fantastic racing atmosphere. For me Sao Paulo is a special place because it was here where I drove my first Formula One race in 2009. I finished ninth and had some good fights on the track. But there’s another reason why I like to go to Brazil: it’s the Churrascarias with the fantastic meat! Sao Paulo will be the last race of 2011. For our team it has been an exciting season, and I will give my utmost so the team can finish the season with a positive result.” Sergio Perez, Sauber 2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a “I have never been to Brazil and I’m very much looking forward to my first visit. Before I fly to Sao Paulo I will spend a few days in Mexico, and I must admit I’m also looking forward to going home. The last time I went back home was during the summer break in August. I have heard a lot about Sao Paulo and Interlagos. Apparently it is a great race track and the crowd can get very emotional. I expect them to be a bit like my Mexican fellow countrymen, and am looking forward to the atmosphere passion creates. Of course I have also had some warnings that the city can be a dangerous place. It will be the final Grand Prix of my rookie season in Formula One. To me this year feels like three years because so much has happened, including my accident in Monaco. However, I think it was a good season. I learnt a lot and was getting better and better with every race. Considering the fact that I had to miss two races in which the car and the team performed very well, I really think I can be happy with what I have achieved so far. Without doubt I am determined to finish this season, which I will personally never forget, on a high.” James Key, Sauber technical director “We have already reached the end of the season. It’s gone very quickly, but equally it’s been a lot of hard work for everyone. Obviously we want to extract the most out of the race in view of our championship position, and, of course, we want to score points there. Sao Paulo is one of these circuits that doesn’t have an obvious optimum wing level. There are two strategies, one which is a higher downforce setting where the middle of the lap is better optimised, and the other one is a lower downforce setting which is better for the long straight up the hill through to turn one and then the second straight down to turn four. That will cause a little bit of work on the wing level, both from a strategic and also the lap time point of view. Pirelli will provide the medium and soft compound tyres, the same ones we had in Abu Dhabi. We think the nature of the track will allow us to get a little bit more out of the tyres over a single lap. In Abu Dhabi we were unable to get the new tyres to work in qualifying, but the nature of the track in Brazil should allow us to use the new tyres better. One thing we have seen over recent years is the weather is quite unpredictable. This may or may not be a factor over the weekend and could be a game changer. With regards to the car, we’ve gathered some good data from the past two events to help us try to improve our qualifying performance a bit more. In addition, we had some test items that we ran in Abu Dhabi, and we will be focusing again on making the most out of those. Otherwise the plan is to maximise our opportunities and try and make sure we can realise the full potential of the car in the race.” Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT 2010 Qualifying - 17th, 2010 Race - DNF “Interlagos is another historical circuit that I love; it’s a real pleasure driving there. Hopefully we won’t face any issues and we can have a good race. If everything goes like Friday and Saturday morning in Abu Dhabi then we can be competitive and fight with our rivals in this last race. We can be positive about the year we’ve had and it would be perfect to cap it off with a good performance in Brazil. Interlagos is a fast circuit with a wonderful atmosphere, it’s a great place to race and I’m looking forward to getting there and enjoying it.” Daniel Ricciardo, HRT 2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a “Brazil will be the last race of the season so my aim is to end things on a high. Interlagos is quite a unique circuit as it is a short and fast lap. Because it is a shot lap you can’t afford to make any mistakes, particularly in qualifying, because it makes a bigger difference. The key for this race is to get a bit of momentum on the first few laps. I’m really looking forward to ending on a good note and I’m going to give it everything I have to make sure that I do. I was at the Brazilian Grand Prix last year and, although I didn’t race, I really enjoyed it; the atmosphere was amazing with people playing drums and blowing horns. It’s like being in a soccer stadium and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.” Colin Kolles, HRT team principal “We are all looking forward to one of the best races in the calendar and the last one of the season. We have been on a more competitive path for the last Grand Prixs and, despite Abu Dhabi wasn't as positive as we originally expected, I am confident that in Brazil we can have a good race with our competitors. It would be a nice reward for the team to conclude this very long and tough season, which saw everyone give their all, with a reasonable result and go into the winter break with a good feeling.” Michael Schumacher, Mercedes 2010 Qualifying - 8th, 2010 Race - 7th "The final race of the season is approaching fast and I am looking forward to the weekend in Brazil. There is always a really good atmosphere at the Interlagos track and it's one of the traditional venues for Formula One to end the season. We have enjoyed some good results finishing in the top six over the last few races, and I would love to continue this trend in Brazil and bring the season to a positive end. The team have worked very hard to improve our performance with the car that we have available to us and it would be a fitting reward for them." Nico Rosberg, Mercedes 2010 Qualifying - 13th, 2010 Race - 6th "I'm really looking forward to going to Brazil next week. The Interlagos track is amazing to drive, and in the last weeks we have made some steps forward without having any big updates on the car, so it should be a good weekend. I would love to give the season a nice ending; our engineers, the boys in the garage and everybody at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth deserve a good result at our last race. The stronger qualifying and race pace in Abu Dhabi makes me confident that we can push and try to catch one of the cars from the top three teams at Interlagos. Our Mercedes engine power and the top speed in the car will be good for getting up the hill on the long start-finish straight." Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal "The Brazilian Grand Prix weekend is always a lively and vibrant event, and Interlagos is a fitting venue for the final race of this year's Formula One season. Although our focus at the factory has been on 2012 for some time now, at the race track we are continuing to work hard with this year's car and make improvements. We are determined to end the season on a high and continue the run of top six results that we have enjoyed recently, which is the upper limit of the potential of the current car. Interlagos is a very unique track which presents some unusual challenges; the high altitude location, the bumpy surface and the challenging layout all test both the drivers and engineers." Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport "Brazil is a great venue for a Formula One season finale: our sport has a proud history in the country, and the atmosphere and dedicated spectators at Interlagos are fantastic. The circuit layout usually delivers exciting and unpredictable races. Interlagos is the second shortest circuit of the year and, coupled with a relatively high average speed, this normally makes for an intense race. The 71 laps around an anti-clockwise layout are challenging for the drivers, and the circuit requires good aerodynamic and mechanical performance in the second sector, and efficient aerodynamics and good engine performance in the first and third sectors. Seven of the last ten Brazilian Grands Prix have featured safety car deployments, so we must factor this probability into our strategies - and even more so with the increase in wheel-to-wheel action this year, thanks to DRS and the Pirelli tyres. In Abu Dhabi, we saw for the first time ever six Mercedes-Benz powered cars finish in the top ten - including in first and third places. Good results for Mercedes and our partner teams are our target at the final round of the season."