Preview 10: Brazilian GP

Wednesday 20-November-2013 22:04

10 things to watch out for at the Brazilian GP this weekend

1. It could be very wet in Brazil
Looking at the weather forecast for the race weekend there is rain, glorious rain, on every day at some stage. On Sunday they predict there's going to be showers all day, which is exactly what Red Bull don't want. So you can bet there will be some investment in local rain spotters to supplement the radar feed that all the teams get.

This is what should happen at the last race of the season - a race that often brings great uncertainty, and the idea that we could end the 2014 season at the dull and tedious Yas Marina circuit (proposd this week) is deeply worrying.

2. Mark Webber says goodbye to F1
Mark's been talking to F1's official website about his career and expect a lot more of this kind of thing: "My first contract was for three races! I didn't do too badly, and now, 250 races later, I can say I've survived. Your first win is another massive event. Special moments were winning Monte Carlo and Silverstone. Of course on the other hand not winning the 2010 title was one of the toughest moments - but that's life. So yes, that was very disappointing, but I am still super proud of taking the fight for the title until the very last race. And it was not an easy year fighting for the title. Ha, I did not pick the easy year - I did not pick a 'Jenson' year!"

3. It's Felipe's last race in Brazil for Ferrari
He won here in 2006 and 2008 and he would have won in 2007 had he not been obliged to hand the position over to Kimi Raikkonen so he could win the 2007 World Championship. Since then it's been a bit patchy, but he got onto the podium last year and don't discount the possibility this year. Although he's never the happiest in mixed conditions.

4. Brazil is Pirelli's biggest market...
...And so the Italian tyre giant are not going to provide marginal tyres - they're bringing along hards and mediums like Austin. But given the weather forecast the teams night be wishing they had some extreme wets.

Of even greater interest, they'll be bringing along some 2014 tyres for the teams to play with in Friday practice. So if it's wet, that's going to put the kybosh on that.

5. Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus are all in a fight for P2 in the Constructors' Championship
Mercedes have a 15-point lead over Ferrari, who have eighteen points on Lotus. Chances are those positions will stay the same, but with a strong chance of rain intervening then a lot could still happen. Will Fernando's back be up to it just a week after Austin? Can Heikki Kovalainen make a much better start than he did at Austin. The Senna Esses aren't the easiest to get through without contact. Could Romain Grosjean make this his first GP win? I'd be tempted to have a little flutter.

6. The Interlagos circuit is at altitude
So engine power will be at a premium , especially coming up the hill from Juncao (the main straight now has a DRS section this year). Engineers reckon that the 800m difference creates an 8% loss of power. It's also one of the fastest anti-clockwise circuits, so expect to see a lot of neck strain if the race stays dry. It's also still one of the bumpiest circuits despite being resurfaced a few years ago, which breaks the traction from the tyres.

7.Kimi Raikkonen won't be at the race again.
Which is a pity because last season he produced one of the comedy moments of the year as he ran off wide, down a service road that he thought led back to the track, but it didn't. Instead he was heading off to downtown Sao Paulo. It was one of those XBox moments where you wanted the onboard video to flash up Wrong Way! Kimi's back surgery has meant that he won't be there to be reminded of that glorious sporting moment which had the legendary Andrea de Cesaris written all over it.

8. Many of the drivers still need to make a good impression
Nico Hulkenberg has qualified on pole here with Williams (2010) and produced a stunning first half of the race last year when he and Jenson Button opened up a 45-second lead - which he then went and spoiled by clattering into Lewis Hamilton, ending Hamilton's McLaren career. If it's damp in qualifying watch out for the Hulk and also Valtteri Bottas who qualified third in Canada in mixed conditions. Bottas has nothing to prove as he has a race seat for 2014, but Hulk, Perez, Gutierrez, Sutil and DiResta are all vying for three seats and there will be a lot of paddock negotiations going on, as this is the last weekend of term when all the players are together.

9.We say farewell to 2.4 litre V8 engines at Interlagos
And McLaren will be saying goodbye to Vodafone as their title sponsor. Pity we can't say the same about 24-hour shifts in wind tunnels.

10.Can Max Chilton make it 19 race finishes out of 19?
Last year Caterham stole 10th place from Marussia at the very last knockings of the 2012 race. Having been 10th all season Marussia won't want to give it up now.


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