Up the Junção

Bom Dia! Spy here, heading to Heathrow for the fast-paced excitement of life in shades of Terminal 2. It’s depressing that the security staff recognise me more readily than my own offspring – but at this time of year that’s only to be expected. Eventually they’ll give in to Spy’s suggestion and install a paddock swipe gate instead of a passport check, it’ll be easier for everyone on this flight: there’s very few unfamiliar faces heading to São Paulo today.

Of course, it’s all a bit after-the-fact now. The Championships are decided, factories are working like crazy building 2020 cars and plenty of people in F1 teams* would be surprised to discover the 2019 season is still on-going. Granted, the drivers are still keen to finish as high up their table as possible, and most of the teams have several million good reasons to get a wiggle on, but there’s a sense of things winding down now. A lot of the media won’t show up in Brazil, senior technical staff will be notable by their absence, and Autosport reports that even Toto Wolff has decided to give this one a miss, for the first time in seven years. The official explanation is that he’s very busy filming the new Terminator movie doing important team stuff at the factory – but we know he’s sitting at home in his sweatpants, eating Pringles while playing Red Dead Redemption II, because honestly, why wouldn’t he be? 

There’s been all sort of rumours suggesting the end is nigh for Interlagos as the home of the Brazilian Grand Prix, to be replaced with a new circuit in Rio. Is it true? Well, it’s true that it’s a rumour – but there have been many pronouncements, mostly contradictory. When it appears on an official calendar, without an asterisk beside the date, that’s when it’s worth taking seriously. 

Would leaving Interlagos be a good idea? Spy’s going to risk splinters in the backside and sit on the fence with that one. Bad points are slightly dodgy facilities and running the gauntlet to and from the circuit. Good points are the crowd, the history and the fact it’s a never-a-dull-race circuit. There’s a lot of effort at the moment to specify cars that are better for racing but Interlagos is one of those tracks where close racing has never been a problem. It has the magic formula of a fast corner, followed by long straight into a slow corner with multiple lines. Rocket science, it isn’t – but it’s surprising how few new tracks get that right. It’d be a real shame to lose a prime example of what always works well for F1.

From a personal point of view, Interlagos has been good to us. We’ve won two titles at this circuit, one of each flavour, and while Seb’s heart-stopper in 2012 delivered the drama, it’s the 2010 constructors’ title that really stands out. It was our first – and a first for a great many people in the Team – delivered with a 1-2 finish and a bit of swagger. The outside world doesn’t seem to care about the Constructors’ Championship all that much, but inside the paddock, it’s the one that matters most. Or, at least most to everyone who isn’t a GPDA member. 

Sod’s law of course, we didn’t get to celebrate, with the small matter of a 12,000km schlep to Yas Marina that needed dealing with. Happily, those two aren’t back-to-back this year. If we get a result – and there’s a very good chance of that – there may be time for a cheeky caipirinha on Sunday evening before heading back to the airport. 

* the ones who aren’t allowed to see daylight very often