Tag Archives: Interlagos

Ecclestone approves revamp of Interlagos circuit

The Interlagos circuit pales in comparison to modern track facilities

The Interlagos circuit pales in comparison to modern track facilities

The Brazilian Grand Prix’s future looks to be more secure, as FOM ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone approved plans to revitalise the ailing racetrack.

The Autódromo José Carlos Pace is by far the most out-dated track on the F1 calendar, with a cramped pit lane, narrow track sections and crumbling grandstands compared to modern F1 standards.

Previous aging circuits such as Imola were booted off the F1 calendar for being too out of date, with no prospect of improvements. The Silverstone circuit was the most recent example, and only survived by agreeing to improve facilities into the future.

The Interlagos circuit has been cracking under the pressure of old age for a while now, and it was only a matter of time before it came under scrutiny. Thankfully, the circuit organisers have submitted plans for revised track facilities, including a brand new pit lane.

It is understood that the new pit lane will be located on the Reta Oposta straight, after the Senna “S” and Curva do Sol.

This was first reported by the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, who claimed that Ecclestone agreed with the new plans. Previously, Bernie has been quoted as saying:

"Brazil will have the next World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. It makes sense. I have 
long believed in Brazil — we've been there since 1972.

The future of Formula One Brazil depends now on major improvements at Interlagos. 
These events [World Cup, Olympics] are a great opportunity to look at the circuit, 
as well.

I can no longer be questioned by the teams about why we are racing at the worst 
circuit in the championship."

 

Button escapes armed attack in Sao Paulo, following other incidents this week

After a spate of attacks on F1 personnel in Sao Paulo this weekend, it has been revealed this morning that Jenson Button was the victim of an attempted armed robbery last night.

Jenson was heading to his car with several members of the team, including John Button (father), Mike Colier (Jenson’s physio), and Richard Goddard (Jenson’s manager). However, they encountered a group of 6 men with machine guns, who attempted to attack the car. Luckily, their police driver Daniel Toni escaped, by bouncing off several other cars to get out of the area.

Jenson described the attack today:

We rocked up at the traffic lights, about three rows back. Our 

driver, as always, stops early and doesn't pull up right 

behind the car in front. We looked to the right and saw a few 

guys gathering at the side of the road just to the entrance to 

a building. They were just stood there.

It looked a bit suspect but we didn't think anything of it and 

then Richard [Goddard, manager] noticed that one of them had a 

baton hanging down from his arm. Then I noticed that one guy was 

playing around with something in his trousers and it was a gun. 

As soon as I said that the driver looked across, and when they 

saw him look they started running towards the car.

We angled the car and floored it. It didn't look like there was 

a big enough space there, but we got between six cars - and 

rammed every single one to get past. We got through in the end 

and got away, but looking behind there were two guys with hand 

guns. One was quite a simple looking hand gun and one guy with 

something that looked like a machine gun.

The worst part of this story is that this is not uncommon at all in Sao Paulo, though it seems to be the first incident regarding a driver. This follows several other attacks on the F1 paddock this weekend. A group of 7 Sauber mechanics were mugged last night, losing several briefcases. Formula One Management workers were attacked last week, and last year Fuji TV workers were caught between crossfire.

To make matters worse, the car Jenson and his team were in was inconspicuous (B-Class Mercedes), and had blacked-out windows, suggesting the attackers were waiting for the team.

For years, there have always been whispers that these types of attacks are putting the Brazilian GP in jeopardy, and with an attack on a driver, these rumours are only going to intensify. I love the Intelagos track, but if this situation gets any worse, then the F1 paddock may well have to set sail from Sao Paulo for good.

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