The Brazilian Grand Prix has been a permanent fixture on the Formula 1 calendar since 1973 thanks in part to the country’s superb history of producing world champions.
Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, and Ayrton Senna have thrilled fans there over the years by standing on the top step of the podium and lifting the championship. Felipe Massa nearly added his name to that list in 2008 but was denied by Lewis Hamilton by just a few corners.
The race has been staged at Interlagos since 1990, but this year will be its last as the race moves to Rio de Janeiro in 2020.
The circuit hasn’t changed much, with its long, sweeping, back straight and snaking middle sector, but the demands are high. The tarmac is narrow and overtaking chances are tight. You must be precise with your positioning and have a stable setup to maximise your pace.
READ MORE: All F1 2019 setup guides
With just 10 real corners on the lap and few of them requiring much front downforce you can get quite aggressive with your aerodynamic setup.
We have gone with a 3-6 setting as it keeps the straight line drag down while maintaining rear stability for the famous Senna Esses and the curved acceleration zones of the middle sector.
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While there aren’t many corners around this lap a lot of them are slow, and with slow corners comes a lot of stress on the rear tyres as you accelerate back up to speed. With a good exit from the last corner vital to your overtaking and defending chances it is important to protect the rears a little so you have life in them when you need them.
We have gone with a 65% on-throttle differential to make the cornering and accelerating less harsh on the tyres.
The off-throttle differential is at 85% to again protect the tyres when we are lifting through some corners but it will keep the rears rotating near each other so getting on the power is more predictable.
Wear on the fronts is not too bad here, with the prolonged 1-stop strategy and 2-stop fairly balanced you don’t need to protect the front tyres too much, meaning we can take some life out of them with our suspension geometry settings.
We have push the front camber up to -2.60 so we can corner a bit quicker, while the rears are set to -1.20. The front toe is on 0.06 while the rear is a 0.26. This helps keep the car a little more responsive when turning in and stable on corner exit.
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This page of the setup is crucial to having a car that behaves properly.
Our suspension is set to 1-3. This allows you to take some kerb on corner entry while the rear remains a little firmer and responsive.
This characteristic is mirrored with our anti-roll bar setting of 5-8. This keeps the rear with you as you snake back and forth through the middle sector. As a result the car is more stable on corner exit and predictable when you get the power on.
Ride height is set to an aggressive 2-3. This means you have to be precise and not take too many liberties with the kerbing, but it makes you ultra-effective down the two straights and allows you to eat up slip stream.
Stopping is crucial in any race, and with nothing but grass waiting for you off track you can’t be going long around Interlagos. We have set the brake pressure to 90% to make sure we stop. This is a bit high and means lifts rather than braking is required in some parts of the track, but it also means you can slam on the anchors going into turn 1 to make a pass.
Brake bias has been set to 56% to help protect the rears a touch while aiding stopping distance but keeping the front responsive.
READ MORE: All F1 2019 track guides
With a two-stop strategy your most likely choice you can extract some more performance from the front tyres with a pressure of 23.8 psi. This will keep the car on rails in the middle sector and reduce rolling resistance at top speed.
The rears are set to 21.1 psi to increase the contact patch for traction and also helps keep the temperatures down.
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So that’s our setup for the Brazilian Grand Prix. It’s a quick lap with two long straights that help cool the tyres, so wear isn’t much of a problem. This setup focuses on stability and predictability so you don’t fear putting your foot down through the middle sector. It provides good one-lap pace for qualifying as well as strategic flexibility if you are willing to be a little gentle.
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