About the Brazilian Grand Prix
The very first Brazilian Grand Prix was held back in 1972 and there has been an unbroken run of 47 races ever since. Like most events hosted outside of Europe, that first GP was not initially part of the World Championship but it has since been included and has developed to become one of the most glamourous events on the circuit.
After that successful initial test, the FIA embraced the Brazilian Grand Prix and a year later in 1973, it became an official part of the World Championship. Since then, it hasn’t been off the radar and with Brazil providing great F1 champions including Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet, it’s fitting that we come to this part of South America each year.
For most of its life, the Brazilian GP has been held at Interlagos which is located in the Socorro District of Sao Paulo. The exception to that run started in 1978 when the event was switched to Jacarepagua in Rio de Janeiro. The issues came about when the old Interlagos circuit fell into decline and the Brazilian public began to clamour for a change to Rio where the home crowd’s favourite Nelson Piquet hailed from.
Rio continued to hold the event until 1989 but in the following year, the race returned to a more compact Interlagos circuit where it has remained ever since.
We’re used to seeing today’s drivers dominate the list of multiple winners at any current Grand Prix but that isn’t the case here. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are taking a back seat for now as the overall leader at the top of the table is Alain Prost with six wins. Prost was the dominant force in the 1980s with five of those victories coming in in a six year period between 1982 and 1988.
Home favourites Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna could barely get a look in at that stage although Piquet did claim two Brazilian Grand Prix wins in 1983 and 1986. Behind Prost, the Argentine speedster Carlos Reutemann is in joint second place with four wins, including victory in the 1972 inaugural season when the race wasn’t an official World Championship event.
Our first driver of the modern era sits alongside Carlos Reutemann with four wins. Michael Schumacher’s four victories came in 1994, 1995, 2000 and 2002. Next on the list is Sebastian Vettel who recorded three wins in 2010, 2013 and 2017 and then we have a host of drivers with two Chequered Flags. Included in that particular list is Lewis Hamilton who won in 2018 and will be looking to draw level with great rival Vettel when the 2019 edition comes around.
Those are interesting figures as, with the notable exception of Prost in the 1980s, no single driver is really dominating the Brazilian Grand Prix. That makes for excitement and an open betting market which could provide some value whenever the race comes around.
The list of overall winners may be headed by drivers from yesteryear but the current crop certainly dominate race records. Speeds increase with every season and it will be no shock to see more of those records tumbling in 2019 and beyond.
In terms of the fastest lap, the milestone was set in 2018 by Valtteri Bottas. His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton may have gone on to win the Grand Prix but Bottas went round in the quickest time of 1:10:540.
While Alain Prost holds the record for individual driver wins, the most successful manufacturer in the history of the Brazilian GP is McLaren with 12 victories. Close behind are Ferrari with 11 wins and the Italian firm will be looking to even things up in 2019.
Historically this has been a successful race for home drivers. We’ve already mentioned wins for Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna. We can also add in two wins for Felipe Massa while Carlos Pace claimed a solitary victory back in 1975.
Brazilians have also claimed more poles than drivers from other nationalities.
Following Pace’s death in a light aircraft crash in 1977, the track at Interlagos was renamed Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in his honour.
The 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix, won by Michael Schumacher, was the last time that a Formula One race was won by over a lap.
The 2001 GP in Brazil was the first time that two brothers - Michael and Ralf Schumacher - occupied the first two positions on the grid.
The track at Interlagos has endured a chequered past: First unveiled in the 1940s, it was the logical choice to host the first ever Brazilian Grand Prix in 1972 but became an unpopular location due to its original design. A long, 4.9 mile track gave drivers a bumpy surface and there was inadequate safety which all culminated in that switch to Rio de Janeiro.
Racing returned to Interlagos in 1990 with a much improved design. The distance was shortened considerably and it now comes in at 2.67 miles. Safety has naturally been upgraded and this includes a lengthened pit lane. With 15 turns included, it is far more popular with the drivers and the new Interlagos circuit is far more in tune with modern day F1 racing where safety issues are paramount.
It’s been a permanent fixture on the calendar since way back in 1972 and the Brazilian Grand Prix won’t be disappearing from the schedules anytime soon. Contracts continue to be extended and in 2013, it was announced that the existing deal had been taken all the way up to 2022.
The race can shift around the calendar a little and in 2019, it will provide us with the third Grand Prix of the new campaign. The glamorous setting of Sao Paulo provides a perfect backdrop in a race that everyone wants to win and so we’re certain that we’ll see even more racing here that will reach far beyond that current cut off point of 2022.