2008 Brazilian Formula 1 GP – Wolf’s Race Preview



And here comes the last race and the last race preview of the 2008 Formula 1 season. The honour to host the season finale goes again to Brazilian Grand Prix. And same as was the case in previous 2 seasons the result of the final race will decide the championships. Worth mentioning is that with the exception of the Super Aguri guys all the drivers that started the 2008 season back in Melbourne will be on the grid with the same teams in Sao Paulo. I do not really remember when was the last time no driver got fired or replaced during the F1 season …

The main attention will of course be on the Hamilton vs Massa title fight. Lewis Hamilton may be leading the championship race by 7 points but as last year proved that may not mean much. And after the unpredictable season we have had so far with all the surprising results and all the points and races thrown away by both Hamilton and Massa I would not take anything for certain.

We can expect both Ferrari and McLaren to bring good cars to Interlagos but I would probably favour Massa to win this one. He has a car that for some reason served him well here in last 2 races. He won in 2006 and he would have won last year too if not for Kimi Raikkonen’s title challenge. The other factor that may play into Massa’s favour in this race is that Hamilton does not really need to push for the win. Winning the race however will not be enough for Massa to claim the title …

See this post to see who needs what to win the 2008 F1 title

It will be interesting to see what role will the team mates play. McLaren may decide to fuel Kovalainen light for once, get him on the pole position and have him to make Massa’s life difficult. Ferrari may have similar ideas with Kimi or they may have some very different tricks up their sleeves.

Both Ferraris will use new engines in Brazil, both McLarens should be on old ones, unless of course there is some unscheduled engine change. That would however result in grid penalty as the engine jokers are not available for the last race of the season. The Mercedes engines have been very reliable this year, but that was also case of Ferrari in 2006 and we all remember what happened to Michael Schumacher in Suzuka that year … And as you can read further down this post, Interlagos track is not exactly easy on engines.

See the engine and other 2008 statistics here

Not to be forgotten is the fight for the constructors title. Ferrari leads McLaren by 11 points but with Hamilton’s drivers title in stake I doubt that McLaren would go all out for the constructors crown.

The other interesting contests still left to be decided are:

– the 3rd place in drivers championship – between Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen (6 pts)
– 6th place in constructors championship – between Toro Rosso and Red Bull (5 pts)
– 7th place in constructors championship – between Red Bull and Williams (3 pts)

It is however likely that given the gaps the positions may remain as they are.

There will be 3 Brazilian drivers on the grid of 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, one fighting for the title (Massa) two others (Piquet, Barrichello) will hope that this is not their last home race.

Nick Heidfeld has a chance to become the only driver to have finished all 18 races this season. All he needs to do is to finish the Brazilian GP.

Track technical info (ING Renault data):

Interlagos is a circuit of contrasting extremes, combining slow hairpins with one of the longest straights of the season. Sitting in a natural bowl, it undulates throughout its 4.309 km length, and is notorious for its bumpy surface – although this was improved by resurfacing in 2004, and again last year. The physical demands of the bumpy circuit are intensified by the fact that it runs anti-clockwise, subjecting the drivers’ necks to the opposite loadings experienced at a normal clockwise track. It is a circuit where overtaking is possible, particularly on the entry to turn 1, and the set-up compromise therefore tends to favour straight-line speed over optimum lap-time, to ensure the drivers can make up positions, and defend them, during the 71-lap race.


The contrasting nature of the Interlagos circuit makes very different demands on the cars. The first and last sectors are made up primarily of long straights, where good top speed is necessary to maintain competitiveness and protect position; this means a low level of downforce is required. However, the middle sector requires the opposite: high downforce to ensure good grip under acceleration, braking and cornering through the twisting series of hairpins. Balancing these requirements gives an optimum downforce setting for achieving the fastest possible lap-time. However, this optimum is then skewed by the demands of racing with other cars. To do so successfully requires competitive end of straight speeds – achieving these may drag teams away from optimum downforce to a slightly lower setting which allows the drivers to overtake and defend their position into turn 1. This means using downforce levels similar to a circuit such as Bahrain.

Mechanical set-up

The combination of high and low-speed corners means it is hard to find a suitable mechanical compromise at Interlagos. Just as with the choice of aero level, it is necessary to prioritise certain sectors of the circuit over others. The most important corner at Interlagos is turn 12, as it determines the speed along the uphill main straight – a full throttle period lasting over 15 seconds. It is important to ensure the car gets a good exit from this corner, even though this can generate some slow-speed understeer in the middle sector. However, any losses incurred with this understeer are outweighed by the benefits in lap-time and competitiveness achieved in sector 3. The second important factor for the mechanical set-up is the track surface. This was traditionally very bumpy, but the resurfacing in 2004 allowed teams to run lower ride heights, and the situation improved again last year. The circuit is relatively easy on the brakes, with just three major braking events, and overall braking energy similar to somewhere like Barcelona.


Interlagos includes relatively few high-speed corners with high lateral loadings on the tyres. Coupled with a track surface that is not particularly abrasive, this means teams can use relatively soft tyres. Consequently, Bridgestone has made available the medium and soft compounds from its 2008 range for this final race of the year.


The long main straight at Interlagos means engine power is a critical factor at this circuit, and the longest single period at full throttle is over 15 seconds. All the engines, though, must contend with the effects of running at altitude, as the circuit is situated around 800m above sea level. The reduced atmospheric pressure costs the engines around 7% of their power output; as a result, the 60% of the lap spent at full throttle is equivalent to 56% at sea level. While this reduces the demands on some components such as the pistons, other parts of the engine, such as the crankshaft, are still subjected to significant loadings.

The results from past 10 years.

1. Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari – 1:28:15.270
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari + 1.493
3. Fernando Alonso – McLaren-Mercedes + 57.019
4. Nico Rosberg – Williams + 1:02.848
5. Robert Kubica – BMW Sauber + 1:10.957
6. Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber+ 1:11.317
7. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes + 1 lap
8. Jarno Trulli – Toyota + 1 lap
9. David Coulthard – Red Bull + 1 lap
10. Kazuki Nakajima – Williams + 1 lap

1. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:31:53.751
2. Fernando Alonso – Renault +18.6 sec
3. Jenson Button – Honda +19.3 sec
4. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +24.0 sec
5. Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +28.5 sec
6. Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +30.2 sec
7. Rubens Barrichello – Honda +40.2 sec
8. Pedro de la Rosa – McLaren-Mercedes +52.0 sec
9. Robert Kubica – Sauber-BMW +67.6 sec
10. Takuma Sato – Super Aguri-Honda +1 Lap

1. Juan Pablo Montoya – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:29:20.574
2. Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +2.5 sec
3. Fernando Alonso – Renault +24.8 sec
4. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +35.6 sec
5. Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +40.2 sec
6. Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +69.1 sec
7. Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
8. Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +1 Lap
9. Christian Klien – RBR-Cosworth +1 Lap
10. Takuma Sato – BAR-Honda +1 Lap

1. Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW – 1:28:01.451
2. Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +1.0 sec
3. Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +24.0 sec
4. Fernando Alonso – Renault +48.9 sec
5. Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +49.7 sec
6. Takuma Sato – BAR-Honda +50.2 sec
7. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +50.6 sec
8. Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +62.3 sec
9. Giancarlo Fisichella – Sauber-Petronas +63.8 sec
10. Jacques Villeneuve – Renault +1 Lap

2003 (third race of season)
1. Giancarlo Fisichella – Jordan-Ford – 1:31:17.748
2. Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +0.945
3. Fernando Alonso – Renault +6.348
4. David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +8.096
5. Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Sauber-Petronas +8.642
6. Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Honda +16.054
7. Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +38.526
8. Jarno Trulli – Renault +45.927
Ret Mark Webber – Jaguar-Cosworth – Accident
10. Cristiano da Matta – Toyota +1 Lap

1. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:31’43.663
2. Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +0.588s
3. David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +59.110s
4. Jenson Button – Renault +1’06.883s
5. Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW +1’07.563s
6. Mika Salo – Toyota +1 Lap
7. Eddie Irvine – Jaguar-Cosworth +1 Lap
8. Pedro de la Rosa – Jaguar-Cosworth +1 Lap
9. Takuma Sato – Jordan-Honda +2 Laps
10. Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Honda – Engine

1. David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:39’00.834
2. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +16.164
3. Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
4. Olivier Panis – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
5. Jarno Trulli – Jordan-Honda +1 Lap
6. Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Renault +1 Lap
7. Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
8. Jean Alesi – Prost-Acer +1 Lap
9. Tarso Marques – Minardi-European +3 Laps
10. Jenson Button – Benetton-Renault +7 Laps

1. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:31’35.271
2. Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Playlife +39.898
3. Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +42.268
4. Jarno Trulli – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +1’12.780
5. Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +1 Lap
6. Jenson Button – Williams-BMW +1 Lap
7. Jos Verstappen – Arrows-Supertec +1 Lap
8. Pedro de la Rosa – Arrows-Supertec +1 Lap
9. Ricardo Zonta – BAR-Honda +2 Laps
10. Gaston Mazzacane – Minardi-Fondmetal +2 Laps

1. Mika Hakkinen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:36’03.785
2. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +4.925
3. Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +1 Lap
4. Ralf Schumacher – Williams-Supertec +1 Lap
5. Eddie Irvine Ferrari +1 Lap
6. Olivier Panis – Prost-Peugeot +1 Lap
7. Alexander Wurz – Benetton-Playlife +2 Laps
8. Toranosuke Takagi – Arrows +3 Laps
9. Marc Gene – Minardi-Ford +3 Laps
Ret Pedro de la Rosa – Arrows – Hydraulics

1. Mika Hakkinen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:37’11.747
2. David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +1.102
3. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +1’00.550
4. Alexander Wurz – Benetton-Playlife +1’07.453
5. Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Williams-Mecachrome +1 Lap
6. Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Playlife +1 Lap
7. Jacques Villeneuve – Williams-Mecachrome +1 Lap
8. Eddie Irvine – Ferrari +1 Lap
9. Jean Alesi – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
10. Jan Magnussen – Stewart-Ford +2 Laps


2014 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
Sebastian VETTEL
Fernando ALONSO
Adrian SUTIL
Force India
Sergio PEREZ
Felipe MASSA
Valtteri BOTTAS
Toro Rosso
Daniil KVYAT
Jean Eric VERGNE

2014 F1 Calendar

14-16 March - Australia
28-30 March - Malaysia
4-6 April - Bahrain
18-20 April - China
9-11 May - Spain
22-25 May - Monaco
6-8 June - Canada
20-22 June - Austria
4-6 July - Great Britain
18-20 July - Germany
25-27 July - Hungary
22-24 August - Belgium
5-7 September - Italy
19-21 September - Singapore
3-5 October - Japan
10-12 October - Russia
31 October-2 November - USA
7-9 November - Brazil
21-23 November - Abu Dhabi


2010 Mercedes GP F1 Merchandise
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