There are now just two races left in the 2014 Formula One World Championship, including this weekend’s event in Brazil which once again is being held at Interlagos’ Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. The 2.6-mile track is one of the oldest in the sport, having hosted its first F1 grand prix in 1973, and at more than 2,800 feet above sea level it’s the highest track on the calendar. This altitude can affect the performance of the cars, typically by reducing the power from the engines by about seven percent, and the track’s bumpy surface pushes the suspension to the limit.
From a technical point of view, the track is a classic compromise between straight-line speed and cornering grip. The long drag up the hill towards the start-finish straight is where top speed is at a premium, whereas the middle features several slow hairpins, around which mechanical grip and traction are important.
The weather is quite changeable too, with this weekend’s forecast calling for a storm on Saturday and a chance of rain on Sunday. Pirelli has nominated its medium and soft tires for the race.
Last year’s winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix was Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel. This year, even with a win, Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton, the current points leader, won’t be declared champion. That’s because there are double points on offer for the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton currently sits on 316 points, with his Mercedes AMG teammate Nico Rosberg in second with 292 points and Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo in third with 214 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes AMG has already been declared the champion and currently sits on 608 points. Infiniti Red Bull Racing is second with 363 points while Williams is in third with 238 points.
In the lead up to this weekend’s event, it’s been confirmed that Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr (currently a reserve driver for Williams) will drive for Sauber next season. He will be joined at the Swiss team by current Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson.
It’s also rumored that Jenson Button will be retiring from F1 at the end of this season, to be replaced at McLaren by current Ferrari man Fernando Alonso (Sebastian Vettel is thought to be joining Ferrari next season). It’s also rumored that a new Romanian entry, Forza Rossa, could end up replacing Caterham in the next year or two. Caterham, along with Marussia, will skip the race in Brazil due to financial difficulties but both teams are aiming to be on the grid next season.