Two kilometers that mark reality
Two lines that alter and distort reality
We begin a cycle of three articles that will take us to the Brazilian Grand Prix and in which we will see different previous aspects in order to take into account for the development of the weekend.
To begin with and to situate ourselves well, since everything is going to be referenced based on this circuit, you should leave a couple of images, such as the map of the track and the general data, which is none other than the filled circuit, well it gives a much clearer vision of what is at each point of the circuit. Information that being Montmeló you know more than enough, but it may be that in some European circuits we do not have so close at hand, as is the case in this case. This is the track map:
And this is the data representation:
The Interlagos circuit is one of the shortest in the entire championship, only surpassing Monaco and very close to the levels of Red Bull Ring and Hermanos Rodríguez, with 4.3 kilometers and a lap time of 74 seconds. It has two different parts, the first and third sectors, very fast, and sector 2, much more twisted. The layout is identical for both venues, so teams could choose to set up the car for the straights, corners or opt for a neutral combination.
The first sector is very short, just 16 seconds and simple, since it only has three corners, which form the famous descent of ‘S de Senna’ and a single braking. It is a very fast stage and one of pure power, in which power and speed have all the importance. The second sector is the most twisted of the entire circuit, since it is where most of the curves are. Lateral stability is very important in the first part of the sector and in turn 11, as well as traction and mechanical grip in the central area of the sector, between turns 8 and 10 and the last sector is again very simple. It only has one braking point, located at turn 12, and the Subida do Boxes section, which is done at full throttle and ends on the finish straight very close to the speed limiter. Another sector for power and speed.
The circuit as such is mainly made up of high-speed sections. High speeds are reached on the finish straight and the Oposta straight, which are combined with the slow zone between turns 8 and 10 and the fast exit of turns 12 and 1. In the rest it is a circuit that is dominated by high speed, that is always done above 200 km/h, and that requires an engine that pushes, but without forgetting the slow zones of curves 8-10.
At the lateral load level, it can be seen that there are many areas with a very significant acceleration, since it is what predominates the most in this circuit, especially in the central part, in which the area between turns 6 and 7 is very fast. , but there are also other curves that are done thoroughly without major problems, as may be the case of curves 3, 5 or the entire Subida do Boxes. While with the longitudinal acceleration we find a circuit that is not so intense, because beyond the braking for curve 1, 4 or the central slow zone, there is little braking, and therefore very little traction, hence the need to have a good cornering speed that gives the ability to be stable.
These are the sensitivities that this tracing presents:
Beyond the exact levels of sensitivity that the circuit presents, the relative indicators once again say a lot about the circuit. In them it can be seen that the most important thing is the work of the tire, especially in the central part, in which it supposes everything, since it is key when passing through curves and in the presence in medium and fast curves, which marks the second sector. The opposite case occurs with the effect of power, since the first and third zones are the most relevant for the lap time, since they are two sectors with a single braking and a very extended stretch of gas at the bottom, of 1,000 meters in each zone. In the case of fuel, its distribution is much more evenly distributed among the three sectors, it affects in the same way, either in cornering or in traction and straight line speed, with an implication of 0.18 seconds/ten litres.
All this can be contrasted with the evolution of the laps:
The weekend had two very different parts. On the one hand, Friday’s day, which was the qualifying session and essentially served as Saturday, with a free practice session and the classification that represented Free Practice 3 and Q on any weekend. On Saturday, everything began to focus on the race, with a first 1h session aimed at working on the laps with more fuel and less electrical power, and the sprint race, with which the Grand Prix began and continued in the day on Sunday.
In this sense, for the day on Friday, the first session began with times of 1’10”2, very fast, and that did not take long to improve for the classification, with the level of a classification session, two tenths of a second better in the first sector and in the third and six in the central zone. Since Saturday the race had all its prominence, with the second session preparing the afternoon test, and times already in 1’13”, much slower than in the classification, but which made very little difference with the race at sprint and the main race. At the level of time production capacity, it was noticeable that almost everything happened in the central zone, from curves 4 to 11, since the incidence of the other two zones, especially the final one, was very low. A sector that marked all the differences and that represents this circuit, both in one lap and in the race.
This is the situation regarding cross-overs:
Looking at the cross-overs, what we find is that the step between intermediates and the rain tire is 1’26”, the step to intermediates is 1’18” in the race and above 1’41’ ‘ it is impossible to ride due to the state of the track. Some values that must be kept in mind, since the risk of rain is always notable in Interlagos and its unpredictable weather.
This is what Interlagos has prepared for the Brazilian Grand Prix, a track that deceives, because it is not about racing on the straight but about having a very good speed in the central part, with the complex between turns 8 and 10 as key point, and the stability in the fast corners of turns 5 and 11. A demanding circuit that is going to ask a lot from the engines and the cars, a test to see the reality of the teams at the end of the season.