Title-deciding weekend to start warm but turn wet

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix weather

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Sao Paulo’s capricious weather has given us some sizzling championship contests in the past.

Wet qualifying sessions during the 2009 and 2010 race weekends produced some surprises on the grid. And who could forget the astonishing twists of the rain-hit 2008 title-deciding race?

So it’s no surprise the early reports of wet conditions during the race have been eagerly watched from the moment the chequered flag fell in Austin, if not sooner.

Much interest has been focused on a band of low pressure which is expected to move northwards from Argentina, bringing rain with it. The crucial question is how quickly it will move and when it will arrive at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

Early forecasts suggested it would affect both qualifying and the race. But as they draw closer updated forecasts indicate only the latter may be hit by rain. And of course that could change again within the next few days.

This could be a headache for the teams and above all the title-contenders. Their set-up decisions on Saturday may be influenced by the likelihood of rain on Sunday. Although fewer changes are made to cars for wet conditions as was once the case, there are still alterations which can make a difference.

As it stands, practice on Friday is likely to begin with dry, warm, sunny conditions and temperatures over 30C. That should give teams a useful opportunity to get through the extra sets of 2013-specification tyres Pirelli are bringing.

Cloud will build up on Saturday, cooling temperatures slightly. But the first rainfall isn’t likely to appear until after qualifying and it may even bring some hail with it.

Considerably lower temperatures of just over 20C will accompany Sunday’s forecast rain. As things stand the rain looks likely to affect the race, but the forecast could change. As usual we’ll keep a close eye on how it develops on F1 Fanatic Live and the F1 Fanatic Twitter account.

On the face of it the prospect of rain will be welcome news for Fernando Alonso, as he has thrived in wet conditions this year. But extremely heavy rain could prove very bad news – as noted yesterday if the race were stopped short of 75% distance he would be unable to win the championship.

For those who wish to keep a close eye on the developing forecast, this interactive satellite image via the link below gives a detailed view of the days ahead. You can see the blue band of rain passing over the region where the track is:

Location of Interlagos

See the location of every race on the 2012 F1 calendar here:

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Title-deciding weekend to start warm but turn wet”

  1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    22nd November 2012, 15:42

    As once somebody on the forum said, let’s display a big umbrella over te last turn in the final laps… How different would Massa be treated in Ferrari today if it weren’t for that 2008 outcome

    1. Not to mention how different Hamilton would be treated: six years at McLaren, won at least two races every year, but no world championship.

    2. How different would Massa be treated in Ferrari today if it weren’t for that 2008 outcome

      Answer- No Different!

      Raikkonen won the wc in his first year with ferrari, their first and so far the only wc after the schumacher era. But that didnt stop ferrari from kicking him out for alonso’s multimillion sponsorship in santander, nor in easing out schumacher himself. u cud argue the reason was performance and so on, but the point is that a wc is not a set-in-cement rule for ferrari in how it treats their driver.
      With the personality as that of Massa, he would have still be sidelined in favor of alonso even if he were a multi-wc.
      But what a drive at Austin!!

  2. I’m sure Alonso has been doing a rain dance all week! (Except when busy closing stock exchanges…)

    1. On a serious note .. can the simulators simulate rainy conditions ?

        1. @fanser Are you sure? Considering the variables it seems like a waste of effort to me, the drivers generally wont know what the weather is going to be like when they’re on the simulator anyway.

          1. the drivers generally wont know what the weather is going to be like when they’re on the simulator anyway.

            what are you talking about?? The simulator will arbitarily(from the driver’s POV) simulate reduced braking and cornering effeciency, increased ‘heaviness’ in the steering, reduced visibility, a dramatic reduction in the grip level(necessitates increased steering input very similar to what would be needed during a wet race).
            why else would a simulator require millions?

      1. I don’t think so: rain is more about the driver’s ability to adapt to the given situation. There could be areas of track on which the grip is still good, and areas where there is no grip at all. Also the track conditions change every lap. So simulating rain would be kind of silly, as it will never perfectly predict the track conditions.

        1. You’re both right. Your PS3 can “simulate” rainy conditions. But the track condition changes all the times, so you’d need high downforce setup, the right tires, and some good sense.

    2. A changing conditions, maybe. Full wet, Alonso is no where as good as some of the drivers on the grid. The only memories of Alonso and wet racing track I have are: “This is dangerous. We can’t race like this. Too wet. It’s too dark”.

      Vettel is very good in wet and that will put likes of Sauber, Williams and Hulkenberg into play, which is not good for Alonso.

      If it suddenly rains during the dry race, yes, Alonso tend to get most of this situation. But as for wet weather skills, he is nothing spectacular same as his pace in Interlagos. Massa will out drive him.

      Can’t wait the decider!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Good !

    Rain, Interlagos, title decider. Best combination ever.

    Hope Alonso finds himself in the lead with Vettel working it out from behind ala-Brazil 2008/Abu Dhabi 2010

  4. Much interest has been focused on a band of low pressure which is expected to move northwards from Argentina, bringing rain with it.

    Yeah, it’s been raining heavily here for the last 12 hours… and at various points of the country. Last sunday a race was red flagged because of the massive rain…

    1. Just wait, I bet we hear Vettel on the radio saying the rain is much too heavy, the race must be ended. (Securing him the championship)

  5. Some rain radars for Sao Paulo/Interlagos:
    Redemet (use São Roque/SP)
    Redemet (animated) (to enable cities, please use Cidades on the left of the window)
    Simepar (to the west of Sao Paulo)
    Note: these radars are not real-time, like meteoradar.co.uk.

    I also have some links to satellite images of the region/Brazil:

  6. It has been said over the last few years that there is not much difference between a wet and dry weather setup, but surely there is a big difference in setups for different air and track temperatures?
    Given that the qualifying might take place in 30C+ air temperatures and sunshine warming the track probably above 40C, and the race likely taking place if not in rain then at least overcast and perhaps sub-20C air temperatures, there could be a huge difference in potential setups.
    Of course if the rain during the race is a certainty, teams might choose to go for an aggressive qualifying setup and hope that it doesn’t make a difference in the rain on sunday, but if the rain was just a possibility, they would have to compromise just between different track temperatures.

    1. actually if the qualifying stays dry and the race starts in the rain – parc ferme no longer applies. A “change in climate conditions” will allow them to adjust for these things.
      Only if qualifying stays dry and race starts under dry conditions – then the teams with a dry setup would be in trouble as soon as rain sets in.

      1. A “change in climate conditions” allows alteration of the air ducts of brakes and radiator ducts. It does not look that much to me

  7. Dear World Feed TV Director, please don’t show us any shots of people on the pit wall looking at weather maps, or screens saying “It’s Raining”. We have seen them before. Many times. We want to watch the race.

    1. Dear Speed TV, please do not do to commercials like you did in Austin. We barely got a chance to settle into the race before they went to commercial every 8 or so laps! If NBC is not going to have split-screen next year, they should to like Russia does: start the race live, but slightly delay coverage so that the second of the race that you left off, you come back to.

    2. Ditto, local celebs looking worried, drivers walking back down the pit lane.

      1. It looked like Matt La Blanc was paying for airtime at Austin. I’m pretty sure I saw him half a dozen times looking, well … blanc

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          22nd November 2012, 23:06

          No joke. I was going to make a comment about how much face time he got. Is he really the “best” we’ve got, as to show him that much during the race?

  8. Please be true, please be true :-) If you’re up there Gilles, please make it rain !!

  9. Was there ever hail during a F1 race?

    1. Schumacher was frequently hailed during his days at Ferrari.

      1. Definitely didn’t see that coming :P

        As for Hail, surely the race would be immediately Red Flagged with Hail falling?

        1. Why?, hail is safer than rain.

          1. how is ice safer than water?

      2. @Oople LOL …killer of a joke :P

  10. A dry qualy followed by a wet race is what can push things to the limit as this will force the teams to rethink on their strategies and the car set-ups. The stage is set at Interlogas for the best season finale since 2008.

    1. DelendaEstAmbulando
      22nd November 2012, 23:59

      Interlagos 2008: Worst race ever

    2. Here’s to hoping!

  11. Alonso fans may want to re-think their pro-rain ideas, with the lead that Vettel has going into this race he can afford to have a compromise set-up but Alonso must have the right set-up to make the podium, if he goes for a wet set-up and it is a dry race or if he goes for a dry set-up and it is a wet race he is almost certain to fail, whereas Vettel only has to finish close to Alonso to be Champion.

    1. Agreed. An equal chance it would play more for Vettel than Alonso.

    2. I was thinking this, but let’s face it, Alonso is only going to win this title if he drives like a racing god and Vettel runs into issues, whether that be from a mistake in the race or qualifying (Or perhaps both), the weather working against him, or a mechanical failure. In a normal situation, I can’t see Alonso gaining 14 points on Vettel. The last time this happened was 7 races ago in Italy, where the Red Bull was already at a disadvantage, the Ferrari was looking very quick and the alternator failed on Vettel’s car.

      I’d love to see Alonso win his third title, but it’s going to be extremely difficult, but luckily for him, it will be decided at a track that has thrown up some very odd results in the past. However, we’ve seen that a driver can drive a perfect race, in difficult conditions and still come short of the ultimate goal, as Massa can attest to.

  12. If the race is stopped before 75% distance due to rain, will Ferrari send Massa out on a Super Sopper?

    1. They probably will. Lol.

    2. I’m predicting Luca riding one of those ‘Kuranda Machines’ and beaching it in the gravel.

    3. @Tomsk LOL comment of the day !!!!!!

  13. Can’t wait :)

  14. I can’t handle this……

  15. Me neither… I’d like to be there!
    Something to see meanwhile, a video with Nico Rosberg and argentinian football player Aguero on track.


  16. Btw where are all the human rights activists? Sao Paulo make Bahrain look like kids play ground.

  17. so it will indeed be a “damp” squib eh?

  18. Sounds like it could be potentially chaotic! It’s not so much the rain that provides the excitement, more the threat of it and this is shaping up nicely.

  19. The Blade Runner (@)
    23rd November 2012, 13:55

    So, does anybody think that Ferrari will do the unthinkable and ask Massa to “take-out” Vettel?

    If Massa is too far down the grid to get close to Vettel in a battle for position then it would only take a well-timed pit-stop due to some kind of problem with his car and for him to re-emerge slightly in front of Vettel.

    After the events in Austin I wouldn’t be at all surprised…

    1. I think assuming that would be missing the point a bit.

      Before Austin, Ferrari favoured Alonso with decisions which only affected the Ferrari team itself, Alonso and Massa.

      It is true that in Austin they kind of crossed the Rubicon with a move which was detrimental to others. However, in terms of the main aim and result of the move, this was kind of a secondary, a side-effect, which importantly also did not affect Vettel directly. The main aim and result was improving Alonso’s position on the track. In that it was similar to other moves, such as the call at the Hockenheimring in 2010.

      In contrast, ordering Massa to take out Vettel would (1) have the main aim of putting someone else in a detrimental position, instead of improving Alonso’s position on track (it is likely, the only scenario in which the move should have only a marginal probability would be one in which Alonso is already ahead of Vettel), and (2) it would negatively affect Vettel directly. Neither characteristics are typical of the series of controversial Ferrari moves of late.

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        23rd November 2012, 14:53

        Just trying to enliven debate!

        What Ferrari did last week was legal but has divided opinion. Masterstroke/Cynical manipulation of the rules; it’s all down to personal opinion. As a team they have also been the most consistent in looking to use events, no matter how minor, to their own advantage. If I’ve heard Fernando complain once about the behaviour of another driver this season then I’ve heard it 100 times, normally followed by a “yes, we will speak with Charlie” or similar response from the pits.

        I’m not saying it is a likely scenario but if, mid-way through the race, it looks to be the only way of winning… hmmm!

        Of course Vettel could just drive into Alonso and it’s all over!

        1. I lol’d at the last line. :D That was a good one. :)

          Well, I think the debate raged on quite intensively, so… I wouldn’t try to enliven it. :)

  20. We are back to the sunny-stormy-rainy version on the offical F1 website.

    1. No, we’re not.

      It shifted back since.

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