Sao Paulo GP Preview – Wolff: “We want to keep up our momentum”

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Mercedes released the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix preview featuring comments from team boss Toto Wolff. You can read the full preview below!

“We didn’t optimise every opportunity in Mexico, but we still managed to score good points with Lewis’s great drive to the podium and George’s P4 finish,” Wolff said.

“It was encouraging to be in the fight for the win, showing how far we’ve come since the start of the year. While we’re always aiming for the top spot, we should be proud of that progress and we’re aiming to keep it going through the end of the year and into 2023.

“Brazil kicks off the final double-header of the season. Interlagos is an iconic track and the scene of so many special F1 moments, including Lewis’s spectacular performance last year in the Sprint and the Race.

“We’re proud to be coming back to Brazil, with Lewis having been made an honorary citizen this week and having had such good memories there in the past.

“On paper, it shouldn’t be quite as strong a circuit for us as Mexico, but regardless, we want to keep up our momentum from recent races. So, we will keep working hard to hopefully be in the mix once again,” the Austrian concluded.

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Fact File: São Paulo Grand Prix

  • The Autódromo José Carlos Pace is the fourth-shortest track on the 2022 F1 calendar at just 4.309 km long, only behind Monaco, Zandvoort and Mexico.
  • However, with 72% of the lap time at full throttle, it is the second-quickest lap time of the year behind the Red Bull Ring. The current race lap record is Valtteri’s 1m10.540 from 2018.
  • The São Paulo Grand Prix venue is situated 800 metres above sea level, the second-highest altitude on the F1 calendar behind Mexico City (which is 1,500 metres higher in altitude).
  • Interlagos is a track of two extremes. The first and third sectors require a low-drag car for the long straights, but the middle sector is twisty, requiring high downforce. The second DRS zone means more focus is typically on higher downforce for the ultimate fastest lap, but a balance still needs to be found with being competitive on the straights during the race.
  • There is 1.2 kilometres of driving at full throttle between the exit of Turn 12 and the braking zone for Turn 1, with an elevation change of 33 metres. The images on TV really don’t do the gradient justice.
  • The biggest difference in elevation is from the start/finish straight to Turn 4 where there is a 40-metre drop in elevation.
  • The long straight before the lap begins also requires some clever deployment of energy from the ERS to maximise performance towards the end of the outlap, as the drivers start their flying lap.
  • Turn 1 is banked heavily towards the inside, unloading the front-left wheel and causing frequent lockups. However, because the tyre is unloaded, flat spots are less likely and time loss isn’t as high as you’d expect, due to the steep banking and variety of corner lines drivers can take. The variety of lines is also what makes this corner well suited to overtaking.
  • The uphill grid requires the drivers to find the balance between holding the car on the brakes as gently as possible, without rolling backwards.
  • From Turn 10 to Turn 6 (around 3.5 km of distance) the left-hand front tyre does very little work and therefore cools down quickly, providing a tricky engineering challenge to keep the tyre in its temperature window.
  • With long straights and a second DRS zone, Interlagos is one of the best tracks of the season for overtaking. However, it can be difficult for the defending car to manage its battery, as there aren’t many big braking zones to recover energy.
  • The São Paulo Grand Prix marks the third and final F1 Sprint of the 2022 season, following on from Imola and Austria.
  • Interlagos is a very flowing circuit with a lot of combined corner entries (where you are cornering and braking at the same time), meaning good stability is important. However, you also need a good front end for the low-speed middle sector.
  • Track temperatures can reach some of the hottest of the season in Brazil, up to 60°C. And thunderstorms are common around this time of year, which can potentially spice up the weekend.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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