In Brazil for the last Sprint of the season

In Brazil for the last Sprint of the season

The penultimate round of the most intense championship in the history of the Formula 1 World Championship – no less than 22 races in eight months – is staged this weekend at Interlagos: the second São Paulo Grand Prix is ​​being held, although in reality it is the forty-ninth race world championship that takes place in the South American country, given that it has been present on the calendar 47 times with the denomination of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Unique track. Hosting the event is the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, better known as Interlagos, a track on which Formula 1 raced 38 times and which is among the most characteristic in the world: the track lies in a natural basin which located between two artificial lakes – and hence, the name – and with its 4,309 meters to go counterclockwise, it is one of the shortest on the calendar. Despite this, the circuit is by no means trivial: in fact, it offers fast bends, hairpin bends and gradient changes, which, combined with the often bumpy asphalt, constitute a particularly complicated mix for engineers and drivers. The search for the right set-up therefore results in a compromise between greater aerodynamic load and the lowest possible drag. Interlagos is in fact a demanding circuit from an aerodynamic point of view due above all to the slow mixed central section, which includes various low-speed bends, but it also knows how to enhance the performance of the power unit since in the first and third sector it offers straights and bends to go under full acceleration. Overtaking is far from impossible, especially in the “S di Senna” which follows the finish straight, where you can take advantage of the DRS as well as on the straight between turns three and four. The “Junção”, turn number 12, is instead key to being competitive in the last sector, both in qualifying when it’s a question of getting a good lap time, and in the race if you have to defend or attack when braking curve 1.

Last Sprint. Like last year, the last Sprint race of the season will take place during the San Paolo Grand Prix weekend. As a result, the weekend program will be very different from the usual one. In fact, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will go into qualifying on Friday after having only one hour of free practice available to work on setting up the car (scheduled for 12.30 local time, 16.30 CET). At 16 (20 CET) it will be time to assign the positions on the starting grid of Saturday’s Sprint which will start at 16.30 (24 laps, equal to about 100 km), the result of which – in addition to assigning eight to one points to top eight classified drivers – will define the positions for the start of the Grand Prix on Sunday. The race will start at 14 (18 CET), there will be 71 laps to go, equal to 305.879 km.


Free practice 1 Friday 11 November, 12.30-13.30 local time (16.30-17.30 CET)
Qualifications Friday 11 November, 4pm local time (8pm CET)
Free practice 2 Saturday 12 November, 12.30-13.30 local time (16.30-17.30 CET)
Sprint Saturday 12 November, 4.30 pm local time (8.30 pm CET)
Competition Sunday 13 November, 3pm local time (7pm CET)

Three questions to…


1. Can you tell us where your passion for motorsport comes from? How did you arrive at Ferrari and what is your best memory of this adventure with the Scuderia so far?
“As happens for many, it all started when I was a child: I was immediately attracted to cars and I was lucky enough to be able to turn this passion into a job a few years later. Fortunately there are excellent opportunities in the preparatory categories of motorsport for an engineer just out of university and sometimes from those series you manage to get as far as Formula 1. After a long period at Scuderia Toro Rosso I did a period in the FIA, so I had the good fortune (again) to meet Mattia along my journey. At that time and just as today you were looking for people who could strengthen the team and so I was able to get to Ferrari. My best memory so far? Certainly the victory at Monza in 2019, because winning in front of our fans is something like no other!”

2. Can you tell us about the characteristics of Interlagos? What does it usually take to go fast on this track?
“Interlagos is one of the classic circuits on the calendar. It is a track with a lot of character, offering a superb mix of medium speed corners, with long straights and many ups and downs. This is why it is so demanding in terms of set-up and choice of downforce It’s also a track where you often have to contend with heavy rain which makes the racing here even more unpredictable.”

3. This weekend for the third and last time we have the Sprint format: what are the skills that this type of system highlights, both for the teams and for the riders?
“With the Sprint format you go into qualifying after just an hour of free practice, and this is the main pitfall: in fact, from the moment you enter Q1, you can no longer touch the set-up. This therefore particularly highlights the ability of the team in preparing for the weekend at home. I am referring to the simulations we do when approaching the race and also to the work that our drivers physically carry out on the simulator. It is particularly demanding for the drivers, because it requires them to push to the limit after just a few practice laps For the team, a weekend with the Sprint is a bit like a 400 km Grand Prix interrupted by a red flag after a quarter of a race, 100 km, precisely the length of the Sprint”.

Laurent Mekies
Nationality: France
Born 4/28/1977
in Tours (France)

Click here to download images of laurent Mekies

Ferrari Stats

GP disputed 1050
Seasons in F1 73
Debut Munich 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi rit.)
victories 242 (23.05%)
pole position 242 (23.05%)
Faster laps 259 (24.67%)
Total podiums 796 (25.27%)

Ferrari Stats GP held in Brazil

GP disputed 48
Debut Brazilian GP 1973 (A. Merzario 4th; J. Ickx 5th)
victories 11 (22.92%)
pole position 7 (14.58%)
Faster laps 8 (16.67%)
Total podiums 31 + 1 Sprints (21.53%)


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