Interlagos - scene of the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the F1 2010 World Championship - is a place of happy memories for Sauber duo Kamui Kobayashi and Nick Heidfeld, and the pair admit that they are hoping what is invariably an 'exciting race' shines upon them once again this weekend.

Kobayashi made his top flight bow in Brazil this time last year, drafted in at the eleventh hour to replace the injured Timo Glock at Toyota - and going on to stun seasoned observers by maturely qualifying an excellent eleventh in a frequently-disrupted session and then running as high as sixth during the race itself, artfully if occasionally controversially fending off world champion-elect Jenson Button for lap-after-lap.

It was just such a stellar performance that brought the fast-but-wild young Japanese ace to Sauber's attention in the first place, and he has increasingly replicated that kind of form of late this season, with points-scoring finishes in six of the last nine outings. He is hoping that Interlagos will keep that trend going.

"In 2009, I drove my first-ever F1 race in Brazil when I stood in for Timo Glock at Toyota," the 24-year-old recollected. "I didn't expect much, because I didn't know the Interlagos track and I hadn't driven an F1 car in dry conditions for eight months. It was a difficult situation for me, but I just believed in myself and my goal was to make no mistakes and finish the race.

"It's a nice track that is physically very demanding. In the 2009 race it was tough for my neck, especially in the last corner which is extremely long and has high G-forces. The track is also quite technical, but for me the main aspect was the physical one. Of course, this will not be a problem again this year.

"The weekend was very special for me in every respect. The weather conditions changed constantly, and it was almost impossible to work on the set-up. We just changed tyres time and time again, and I tried to complete as many laps as possible in practice. I'm very much looking forward to my second Brazilian Grand Prix."

Those sentiments are shared by Heidfeld, although the experienced German will be making his tenth start at Interlagos - the second of which back in 2001 yielded his maiden rostrum finish at the highest level, perhaps appropriately with Sauber.

Having rejoined the fray only three races ago in-place of fellow F1 veteran Pedro de la Rosa, the 33-year-old M?nchengladbach native is keen to make it three points-scoring finishes in swift succession this weekend around a track that he acknowledges invariably produces thrillingly spectacular action.

"I like the Interlagos circuit," he confessed. "It isn't a very long lap, but it is demanding. We drive anti-clockwise, and a special loading on the neck muscles is characteristic to the circuit. My favourite corner is Turn Six - an uphill double right-hander, fast and blind.

"I have many special memories from Brazilian Grands Prix. In 2001, I achieved my first podium in F1 there with Sauber. It was in the rain, and it was unforgettable and emotional. In 2002, all-of-a-sudden there was a medical car on the track, which wasn't supposed to be there. The fractions of a second when I was hoping the driver would not step out of the car's door he had just opened seemed to me like an eternity - I wouldn't have had a chance of avoiding hitting him. Luckily, he didn't get out.

"We have had unbelievably exciting races in S?o Paulo, and quite often the weather has played a role. For the last four years the championship has been decided at Interlagos, and this can happen again in 2010. In any case, the chances for another exciting race are quite high."

"It is good to go back to Interlagos, as this race has a great atmosphere and a lot of support from the local fans," concurred the Hinwil-based outfit's technical director, James Key. "The track is interesting with several overtaking opportunities, so potentially making the race an exciting one. Our intention will be to maximise our points in the best way possible, and to try to continue the trend of the last few races.

"The C29 will be the same specification as it has been in previous events, but we obviously have several set-up options to consider. One of these is the downforce level; at Interlagos you either gain on the straights or in the corners of the windy infield section, so we will have to strike the right compromise. Because of this, we will have to watch our top speeds, but also the balance and grip level of the car in the second part of the lap. Our car's strength should be to deal with the front tyre wear.

"Regarding the mechanical set-up, we will have to consider the track's bumpy surface and also watch for a change of direction and good front-end grip, with traction being important at the end of the lap into the uphill section."



Loading Comments...