Renault Sport Formula 1 Team Technical Director Nick Chester insists the Autódromo José Carlos Pace is a tricky circuit to get the set-up right as the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend gets underway this Friday.
Chester, who oversees the RS16’s of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, says the Interlagos circuit has two distinctly different sections that compromise each other, with the long start and finish straight requiring low downforce while the infield section requires much more downforce.
Despite this, Chester is hoping the team can show a good turn of speed in Brazil, and with just two races of the season remaining, a return to the points is certainly the aim.
“It’s an anticlockwise clockwise circuit with varying gradient and situated at quite high altitude, but not as extreme as in Mexico,” said Chester. “São Paulo is around 800 metres above sea level whereas Mexico City was over 2000, so you lose a little bit of downforce, but nothing compared to the last race.
“It is quite a challenging circuit to set up for because of the contrasting needs of the twisty infield and the long straight. We would like to run maximum downforce for more grip in the twisty bits, but you need to be as drag-free as possible to maximise your speed on the long straight.
“It’s hard to generate grip at Interlagos so it won’t be too easy on the tyres. We will have the Pirelli soft, medium and hard compounds available but we don’t expect to see too much use of the hards. The track is bumpier than some of the smooth circuits we have visited recently so this will affect our mechanical set-up.
“We have proved that we are able to capitalise on any given opportunity during the races so our aim is to continue to do that and finish the final two Grands Prix in the points.”