Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Brazil preview - can Webber go out on a high? 21 Nov 2013

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 5 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrate on the podium with the champagne.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus F1 walks the track.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, 21 November 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 locks up.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Qualifying, Austin, USA, Texas, Saturday, 16 November 2013 Track view.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, 21 November 2013 
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, 21 November 2013 Final corner / main straight.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, 21 November 2013 Sao Paulo signage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, 21 November 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 leads at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 25 November 2012

It’s the race that will bring the curtain down on the 2.4-litre V8 era of F1 racing which started in 2006. And it poses a key question: Will Mark Webber be able to win before his illustrious F1 career finishes here, or will Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel seize his chance to equal double world champion Alberto Ascari’s long-standing record of nine consecutive victories between the 1952 and ’53 seasons?

The latter is more likely, as he said after triumphing in Texas: "It’s not as if I’m getting bored. I have quite a lot to do, looking at the gaps, I have to match their pace. When they come closer it’s not the best feeling. You want the gap to increase always, you don't want it to become smaller.

"It was clear this weekend that we have a very, very good package, especially on the long-run pace. We might have compromised the pace yesterday, but today I was happier with the balance. The car was similar to Friday so I was very happy. You do tend to have quite a lot of work in the car. It’s a Sunday afternoon drive but not in that regard.

"It makes us very proud of that winning moment. I think it’s very difficult for all of us to realise what it means. One day people might look back and talk about our time and what we have done as a team. Everybody is happy to just turn up and give it everything.”

For his part, Webber has made it clear he doesn’t want charity from a team mate he’s never really got along with. And he may not be in a position to need it, after all, Webber has won two of the last four races at Interlagos.

Now that Fernando Alonso has tied up second place to Vettel in the drivers’ championship, the remaining point of interest is the fight between Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus for second in the constructors’. The odds clearly favour Mercedes, who left Texas with 348 points to Ferrari’s 333, while Lotus have an outside chance on 315, but besides needing to garner 33 between Romain Grosjean and Heikki Kovalainen they effectively would have to see both Mercedes and Ferrari fail to score. It’s more feasible for them to aspire to Ferrari’s third place.

On current form the one man who might be able to stop Vettel is Grosjean, who’ll be looking for his seventh podium in eight races in a Lotus that has great race pace. “Interlagos is a fantastic track; there’s really no part of it that isn’t great,” says the Frenchman. “It suits my driving style so I’m really looking forward to it. And the E21 has been performing really well this year and there’s no reason to think it won’t be a great car once again here.

“Red Bull have a very fast car, of that there is no doubt! Sometimes we get a sniff of being able to chase Seb but now he’s got the championship in the bag he’s got some additional confidence and speed which makes it all the more difficult! Being able to chase and lead just one of the Red Bulls is really quite some achievement for the team and I’m so grateful to everyone at Enstone for all their hard work throughout the season. They’ve been doing an amazing job. The spirit of these guys is awesome; I really can't say enough about them. They come to the track or the factory having had just a few hours’ sleep after the late night’s work the previous day, but they’re always happy to do anything they can to get the best from a weekend. We drivers are always wanting more from a car, and they never stop trying to make that happen.”

It looks like being a wet weekend, which might create some opportunities that might not otherwise exist, but Grosjean isn’t getting over-excited by that.

“To be honest the weather and altitude is not something we can change and therefore we just have to deal with it. We will plan our strategy well and just aim to be in a position to fit the right tyres at the right time. The good news is that Brazil is closer to our normal time zone, so jet lag will be less hard to cure when we go back home!”

At Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton was stoked by his new chassis in Texas. "Definitely I'm very, very happy," he said after the race. “I’m just happy for the guys and happy to have gone forward. I'm always talking about staying where I am or going forwards and so really I’m happy with that. The team did a great job - the car was night and day difference to what it was in Abu Dhabi. I'm pretty sure the new chassis helped. To finally have a half-decent qualifying and then move forward and really utilise the tyres and have some life left in them... I was really, really happy that at the end, I could see Fernando was catching, so I was just looking after the tyres to wait until he started to push. When he did I just reacted a bit and when he was going to try and bring out a tenth I was going to bring two. When he tried to bring out three I was going to bring four. So I was really happy I could do that today."

Meanwhile, Alonso admits that second place overall is probably beyond Ferrari.

“There is nothing we can do at the moment. We fought to be in Q3, and we fought to be in the points on Sunday, so we need to do better in Brazil if we are to fight for second place in the constructors’ championship. Or maybe that’s too optimistic a goal. We need to be more realistic and know that fighting for second was a dream and maybe that dream is difficult to make come true.”

Team mate Felipe Massa, meanwhile, will be doing all he can to have a great final race for Ferrari in front of his countrymen.

Sauber also need a miracle to haul in Force India; the Anglo-Indian team have 77 points, the Swiss 53. And Caterham need something very dramatic to happen to avoid finishing 2013 in 11th place, after Marussia’s strong performances this year.

The 4.30-kilometres Interlagos circuit, or the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace to give it its official title, is one of the shortest tracks on the calendar but poses a huge technical challenge with its mixture of high- and low-speed corners, elevation changes and high altitude above sea level. Arriving at the optimal combination of aerodynamic set-up - preferably medium to low downforce - is always a compromise as despite all the twisty corners, the long last sector of the lap is hugely important for lap time.

Traction is also crucial, especially as drivers transition from braking to putting the power down and need to manage wheelspin.

Pirelli are bringing their P Zero Orange hard and White medium tyres again, and motorsport director Paul Hembery explains: “We’ve chosen them to deal with the different demands of the famous Interlagos circuit, where there are a number of things to look out for: despite being resurfaced a few years back it’s always quite bumpy, which makes it hard for the tyres to find traction and increases the physical demands on the drivers.”

The teams will be given the opportunity to try out the latest-specification 2014 prototype tyres during Friday’s free practice sessions, in preparation for next season which features a raft of regulation changes. The new engine characteristics of the 2014 cars will have an important effect on the tyres. Each car will have two sets of next year’s tyres to use in FP1 and FP2, as allowed by the current regulations. These will feature the 2014 construction and profile, with the 2014 medium compound.

One or two-stop strategies are most likely here, depending on how well a car and driver combination can use their tyres.

An extra DRS zone has been added to the circuit for 2013. The first zone has a detection point at the apex of Turn 2 with activation 20 metres after Turn 3. The second has its detection point 30 metres after Turn 13 and activation 60 metres before Turn 15.

In other changes, new debris fences have been installed on both sides of the track between Turns 3 and 4, while Race control has been renovated with new high-definition camera feeds and other enhancements.

As mentioned above, weather forecasts suggest we could be in for a cool and wet weekend. There will be showers in the region throughout the weekend and the ambient temperature high will be around 22 degrees Celsius.

The race will run over 71 laps or 305.909 kilometres (190.085 miles). It starts at 1400 hours local time, which is two hours behind GMT.

For tickets and travel to 2013 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 merchandise, click here.