kids encyclopedia robot

Brazilian Grand Prix facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Brazilian Grand Prix
São Paulo Grand Prix
Autódromo José Carlos Pace
(Intermittently 1972–1980, 1990–present)
Autódromo José Carlos Pace (AKA Interlagos) track map.svg
Race information
Number of times held 51
First held 1972
Most wins (drivers) France Alain Prost (6)
Most wins (constructors) United Kingdom McLaren (12)
Circuit length 4.309 km (2.677 mi)
Race length 305.879 km (190.064 mi)
Laps 71
Last race (2023)
Pole position
Fastest lap

The Brazilian Grand Prix (Portuguese: Grande Prêmio do Brasil), currently held under the name São Paulo Grand Prix (Portuguese: Grande Prêmio de São Paulo), is a Formula One championship race which is currently held at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos neighborhood, Cidade Dutra, São Paulo.


Circuito da Gávea 1934

Motor racing started in Brazil before World War II, with races on the 6.935 mi (11.161 km) Gávea street circuit in Rio de Janeiro starting in 1934. In 1936 construction began on Brazil's first permanent autodrome in the São Paulo neighborhood of Interlagos and was finished in 1940. Brazil held Grands Prix during the early parts of WWII at Interlagos and Gavea. Interlagos, a circuit inspired in layout by the Roosevelt Raceway in the United States quickly gained a reputation as being a tough and demanding circuit with many challenging corners, elevation changes, a rough surface, and little room for error.

Formula One

Brazilian GP map
A map of all the locations of the Brazilian Grand Prix

Interlagos, São Paulo

A Brazilian Grand Prix was first held in 1972 at Interlagos, although it was not part of the Formula One World Championship. Typical of European motorsports at the time, this race was done as a test to convince the FIA if the Interlagos circuit and its organizers could capably hold a Grand Prix. Like most major circuits used for Grands Prix in Latin America such as the Hermanos Rodríguez Autodrome in Mexico City, Interlagos was (and still is) located in the confines of a sprawling urban neighborhood in a very large city. The following year, however, the race was first included in the official calendar, and it was won by defending world champion and São Paulo native Emerson Fittipaldi. In 1974, Fittipaldi won again in rain soaked conditions, and the year after, another São Paulo native, Carlos Pace, won the race in his Brabham, followed by Fittipaldi. 1977 was won by Reutemann, but the drivers began complaining about Interlagos's very rough surface, and the event was then relocated for a year to the new Jacarepaguá circuit in Rio de Janeiro.

After a year in Rio, the race returned to Interlagos, with new and upgraded facilities for the next two seasons; this race was won by Jacques Laffite to complete his and Ligier's conquest of the opening South American rounds in Argentina and Brazil. But the Interlagos surface was still very bumpy. The original arrangement from 1978 onwards was to alternate the Brazilian Grand Prix between the São Paulo and Rio circuits; the 1980 race was originally supposed to be held at Jacarepaguá but parts of that circuit (which was originally built on a swamp) were beginning to sink into the soft ground and the circuit disintegrated badly, so the 1980 Grand Prix was to be relocated to Interlagos. But by this time, the population of São Paulo had risen from 5 to 8 million over the space of 10 years; the area surrounding the track was becoming increasingly run-down and the circuit did not look good for Formula One, which thanks to worldwide television exposure was becoming something of a glamorous spectacle. Formula One was originally supposed to come back to Interlagos for the 1981 season after the track surface there had been repaved; it turned out that F1 came back a year too early. The drivers were dissatisfied with the safety conditions of the very bumpy 7.873 km (4.892 mi) Interlagos circuit which had not been changed after the previous year's improvements. The ground-effect wing cars of that year had a tendency to bounce up and down thanks to the suction created by the cars' wing-shaped underbodies, and they were more stiffly suspended than before; so these fragile cars were barely tolerant of such a rough track and were very unpleasant to drive. The bad surface was so rough that the bumps caused mechanical problems for some cars. Also, the barriers and catch-fence arrangements were not adequate enough for Formula One. Jody Scheckter attempted to stop the race from going ahead but this did not work and the race ended up being won by Frenchman René Arnoux. With Formula One's more glamorous image being better suited to the better-looking city of Rio de Janeiro, the F1 circus went back to Rio again and the circuit went on to host the 1980s turbo era.

Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro

In 1978 the Brazilian Grand Prix moved to Jacarepaguá in Rio de Janeiro. Argentine Carlos Reutemann dominated in his Ferrari, which was equipped with superior Michelin tyres. This proved to be the French company's first victory in Formula One. Reutemann was followed by home favorite Fittipaldi and defending champion Niki Lauda.

After the emergence in 1980 of Rio de Janeiro racer Nelson Piquet, the decline of Interlagos and the retirement of Fittipaldi, Brazilian fans lobbied to host the Brazilian GP in Piquet's home town. The flat Jacarepaguá circuit, like Interlagos before it, proved to be extremely demanding: most corners were long and fast, some were slightly banked and the track had a very abrasive surface. Due to the FIA calendar, which invariably had the Brazilian GP at the beginning of the season thus in the Southern hemisphere summer and the tropical weather of Rio, most races were held under very high temperatures and high humidity. Due to all of those circumstances, Grands Prix at Rio were highly demanding and most drivers who won it were exhausted in the end.

In 1981, Carlos Reutemann disobeyed team orders to let his teammate Alan Jones by and took the victory; the following year Piquet finished first and Keke Rosberg finished second but because of the FISA–FOCA war, Piquet and Rosberg were both disqualified for being underweight in post-race scrutineering, and the race victory was given to third placed Alain Prost, who would go on to win at Jacarepaguá four more times (thus earning the nickname "the King of Rio"). The race also saw Italian Riccardo Patrese retire due to physical exhaustion (a very rare occurrence in F1, but quite common at Rio). Piquet won in 1983 and 1986, and the 1988 race was particularly notable, as up-and-coming star Ayrton Senna started from the pit-lane in his first race for McLaren; he began a furious charge that brought him up to second behind his teammate Prost; but he was disqualified for switching to his spare car after the parade lap had begun. The 1989 event was the last race at Jacarepaguá. It was won by British driver Nigel Mansell in his Ferrari, in the first Grand Prix won by a car with a semi-automatic gearbox, and it also saw German Bernd Schneider and American Eddie Cheever collide, and Cheever collapsed twice after he exited his car due to exhaustion.

Return to a new Interlagos

São Paulo native Ayrton Senna's success thus far in Formula One had city officials working hard to revamp the Interlagos circuit in a $15 million investment to shorten and smooth over the circuit. In 1990 the Grand Prix returned to a shortened Interlagos, where it has stayed since. The Interlagos circuit has created some of the most exciting and memorable races in recent F1 history, and is regarded as one of the most challenging and exciting circuits on the F1 calendar.

The first race at the new Interlagos in 1990 was won by Alain Prost, who won his 40th career race (the most ever at that point in time) and his sixth Brazilian Grand Prix. It wasn't a popular win, as the events of the previous year's Japanese Grand Prix were still fresh in the minds of many Brazilians: Prost was seen as having been given the Drivers' title by FIA president Jean-Marie Balestre at Senna's expense after Senna was disqualified from that race in Japan. The Brazilian, a home favorite, finished third in Brazil after leading much of the race but then hitting his backmarker ex-teammate Satoru Nakajima in a Tyrrell. 1991 saw the patriotic Senna emotionally win his first Brazilian Grand Prix. His McLaren's manual gearbox was losing gears quickly and close to the end, he only had sixth gear left. This made the car much more difficult and physically demanding to drive, but he still eventually won holding off Williams driver Riccardo Patrese. His exhaustion was so high that had to be extricated from his car. 1992 saw Mansell dominate the weekend and the rest of the season. 1993 was a race of variables; it began to rain heavily early into the race and Prost, now driving a Williams, had a rare accident on the main straight and retired. Senna went on to win in a McLaren from Prost's teammate Damon Hill. 1994 saw Senna, now driving for Williams, spin his recalcitrant car going through Juncao late into the race. He was running in second, trying to catch German Michael Schumacher, who went on to win. Senna would lose his life in an accident at the San Marino Grand Prix later in the year. 1995 was a very controversial race that initially had race winner Schumacher and Briton David Coulthard's cars excluded for apparently using illegal fuel during the race, but then reinstated. 1996 saw Damon Hill win his first of eight races that season. 1997 saw an accident at the start that involved four cars, and Canadian Jacques Villeneuve went off the course at the first corner; the race was stopped and restarted, and Villeneuve jumped into the spare car and won the race. 1998 saw a controversy surrounding McLaren – Ferrari had protested about their braking system, and it was then banned from the Brazilian Grand Prix, although it had been approved four times by FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting. It didn't matter much: Finnish McLaren driver Mika Häkkinen won the race anyway. 1999 saw local Rubens Barrichello lead for some time until the engine in his car failed, and Hakkinen won again.

Audience of the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix
Audience of the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix

The 2001 Grand Prix was notable for marking the explosive arrival of Juan Pablo Montoya onto the Formula One scene. The Colombian driver stunningly muscled his way past Michael Schumacher early on and led easily until an incident in which Arrows's Jos Verstappen ran into the back of his Williams-BMW and ended his race. Montoya did eventually laid to rest the ghost of this event by winning the 2004 race in his final Grand Prix for Williams before moving to McLaren, holding off his future teammate Kimi Räikkönen to take a hard-fought victory. The 2001 race is also notable for two brothers, Michael and Ralf Schumacher, sharing a row on the starting grid for the first time.

Particularly memorable recent Brazilian Grands Prix include the 2003 race, which saw a maiden Grand Prix victory, highly unexpectedly, and amidst chaotic and unusual circumstances, for Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella. Heavy rain before and during the race produced problems with tyre selection which caught out many teams, which allowed the weak Minardi team to have a real chance for victory the only time ever, because they were the only team who prepared for the rainfall, but their drivers were also soon out. And treacherous track conditions caused multiple drivers to spin out of the race, including then-reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher, ending a remarkable run of race finishes dating back to the 2001 German Grand Prix. Amidst this, a number of drivers, including McLaren's Kimi Räikkönen and David Coulthard, led the race, and, when a heavy accident involving Renault's Fernando Alonso blocked the circuit and brought out the red flag, confusion reigned. Fisichella led the race at the time, having just overtaken Räikkönen; however, it was the Finn who was declared the race winner under the rule that stipulated that the race result in such circumstances was to be taken from the running order two laps prior to the race being stopped. This decision was overturned days later in the FIA Court of Appeal in Paris after new evidence came to light which proved that Fisichella had crossed the finish line in the lead for a second time before Alonso's accident, and therefore was the rightful winner. The 2004 event marked the first time since the race's admission to the Formula One Championship calendar that it was not one of the first three rounds of the championship season.

Interlagos 2006 aerial
Autódromo José Carlos Pace, the venue for the Brazilian Grand Prix
Safety Car at 2006 Brazil
Safety car at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso became the youngest ever Formula One World Champion at the 2005 Brazilian Grand Prix, his third place behind winner Juan Pablo Montoya and championship rival Kimi Räikkönen was enough to clinch the title with two races remaining.

For 2006, the Brazilian Grand Prix, as in 2004, was moved to the prestigious position of hosting the final round of the season, in what was Michael Schumacher's first farewell to Formula One, before his return for the 2010 season. Starting from 10th position on the grid, Schumacher did an astonishing job on his last race. He fell to 19th position on the ninth lap due to a flat tyre caused by a minor collision with Giancarlo Fisichella when the former was trying to overtake the latter. After pitting for a new tyre he returned to the race, just in front of leader Massa, so almost being lapped, then passing several drivers to take the chequered flag in fourth place, after a dazzling passing manoeuvre on Kimi Räikkönen. His performance was not enough to give Schumacher his eighth trophy, as Fernando Alonso, who needed only one point to become World Champion again, finished in second place. Brazilian Felipe Massa took pole position and led the race from start to finish to get the second victory of his career and to be greeted by celebrations from his Brazilian supporters.

In the 2007 edition, Kimi Raikkonen won the race and his first and only championship, beating both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton by a single point.

In March 2008, the mayor of São Paulo announced that he had signed a new deal with Bernie Ecclestone to continue the holding of the Brazilian Grand Prix. This deal allowed the Brazilian race to be on the calendar until 2015. With this, Interlagos was set for major improvements in its pit and paddock facilities.

In the final race of the 2008 season in Brazil, Lewis Hamilton became the youngest Formula One World Champion up to that point in Formula One history. After adopting a conservative strategy without risks for most of the race to secure at least fifth place, and the title, a late-race rain shower caused unexpected trouble. First, Hamilton was pushed down to fifth place by German Toyota driver Timo Glock who didn't enter the pits for intermediates like most other front runners. With just three laps to go, Sebastian Vettel then also overtook the Briton on the track which meant he would end up with equal points to Massa, but with one fewer victory. While everybody was focusing on the battle between these two (Vettel managed to stay in front in the end), against all expectations both were able to overtake Glock, who had lost all grip with his dry-weather tyres, in the very last corner before the finishing straight. This meant that, while the McLaren Drivers' Championship title rival Felipe Massa won the race in his Ferrari, Hamilton ultimately grabbed the fifth place he needed to become champion. Renault's Fernando Alonso, the previous youngest champion, was second ahead of Massa's teammate Kimi Räikkönen and Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel.

The 2009 race determined another Drivers' Champion, with Jenson Button in a Brawn finishing fifth to secure his only Drivers' Championship over Vettel, now driving for Red Bull, who finished fourth; Vettel's Australian teammate Mark Webber won the race ahead of Pole Robert Kubica. 2010 saw a wet qualifying and German Nico Hülkenberg drove an astonishing lap to put his non-competitive Williams on pole position. His countryman Vettel won the race ahead of Webber, and this race gave Red Bull the Constructors' Championship, and it set up a four-way duel for the Drivers' title at the final round in Abu Dhabi. 2011 saw another Red Bull 1–2, but it was Webber this time who had won from Vettel, who had already won his second Drivers' title in Japan earlier that year. 2012 was another classic race, where Vettel this time had to do battle with Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. After making a very poor start which dropped him to 22nd, he climbed up to sixth which was enough to see him win his third consecutive Drivers' title. This race was also notable for being Michael Schumacher's last ever F1 race: the legendary German had made a comeback with Mercedes in 2010, but he did not win a single race – a huge surprise, considering he was the most successful F1 driver in history. 2013 saw Vettel win his ninth consecutive race that season which was a new record. The record stood until Max Verstappen won his tenth race in a row at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. 2014 saw the totally dominant Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton finish 1–2 in the race. 2015 saw Rosberg win again; he had spent most of that season demoralized and at the mercy of his teammate Hamilton, who won his third Drivers' Championship. 2016 saw continued Mercedes domination, but it was Hamilton who won with Rosberg second. But the Mercedes victory that day was overshadowed by heavy rain, multiple accidents and an astonishing drive from the Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, who drove his Red Bull from 16th to third in 15 laps after his team botched its tyre strategy.

On 10 October 2013 it was announced that the contract for the Brazilian Grand Prix had been extended until 2022, with a further extension in November 2020 that extended it to 2025.

The scheduled 2020 race was cancelled by Formula One Management in July that year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leaving promoters of the Interlagos race furious who say the losses they will make because of this and that it could mean the end of Formula One racing at the venue longer term.

São Paulo Grand Prix

Formula One would return to Interlagos in the 2021 season, with the event now being titled the São Paulo Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton, after a disqualification from qualification due to technical infringements, won the main race after achieving a fifth-place finish in the sprint after a back row start. Hamilton's 2022 teammate, George Russell, won both races at São Paulo.

Five Brazilian drivers have won the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Felipe Massa each winning twice, and Carlos Pace winning once. The most wins ever is by the Frenchman Alain Prost, who has won the race six times (including five times at Jacarepaguá). Argentine driver Carlos Reutemann and Michael Schumacher have both won four times.

Rumours of a return to Rio de Janeiro

In spring 2019, Jair Bolsonaro, the President of Brazil, announced that the Brazilian Grand Prix would move back to Rio de Janeiro. Because the Jacarepaguá circuit had been demolished to make way for the construction of facilities for the 2016 Summer Olympics, a new circuit is to be built in the Deodoro neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. However, this was denied by Formula One's commercial manager Sean Bratches.

In November 2020 a deal was signed which would see Formula One continue to race at Interlagos until 2025, albeit under the title of São Paulo Grand Prix. This was the first time that the race had been known as the São Paulo Grand Prix. The race's contract was suspended in January 2021. Also in January 2021, with official confirmation in February 2021, the newly elected Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, confirmed that the plans for the construction of the new circuit at Deodoro were scrapped, with the promise of finding a new suitable place for its construction.

Formula 1 drivers also expressed their concern for the environment about the project and Lewis Hamilton said, ‘I don’t think it’s a smart move. There is a global crisis with deforestation.’


Repeat winners (drivers)

Drivers in bold are competing in the Formula One championship in the current season.
A pink background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.

Wins Driver Years won
6 France Alain Prost 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990
4 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 1972, 1977, 1978, 1981
Germany Michael Schumacher 1994, 1995, 2000, 2002
3 Germany Sebastian Vettel 2010, 2013, 2017
United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 2016, 2018, 2021
2 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 1973, 1974
Brazil Nelson Piquet 1983, 1986
United Kingdom Nigel Mansell 1989, 1992
Brazil Ayrton Senna 1991, 1993
Finland Mika Häkkinen 1998, 1999
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya 2004, 2005
Brazil Felipe Massa 2006, 2008
Australia Mark Webber 2009, 2011
Germany Nico Rosberg 2014, 2015
Netherlands Max Verstappen 2019, 2023

Repeat winners (constructors)

Teams in bold are competing in the Formula One championship in the current season.
A pink background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.

Wins Constructor Years won
12 United Kingdom McLaren 1974, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2012
11 Italy Ferrari 1976, 1977, 1978, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2017
6 United Kingdom Williams 1981, 1986, 1992, 1996, 1997, 2004
Austria Red Bull 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2019, 2023
Germany Mercedes 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2022
3 United Kingdom Brabham 1972, 1975, 1983
2 France Renault 1980, 1982
United Kingdom Benetton 1994, 1995

Repeat winners (engine manufacturers)

Manufacturers in bold are competing in the Formula One championship in the current season.
A pink background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.

Wins Manufacturer Years won
11 Italy Ferrari 1976, 1977, 1978, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2017
Germany Mercedes ** 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2022
10 France Renault 1980, 1982, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
9 United States Ford * 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1981, 1993, 1994, 2003
4 Japan Honda 1986, 1988, 1991, 2019
3 Luxembourg TAG *** 1984, 1985, 1987
2 Germany BMW 1983, 2004

* Built by Cosworth, funded by Ford

** Between 1998 and 2005 built by Ilmor, funded by Mercedes

*** Built by Porsche

By year

Autódromo de Jacarepaguá 1978-1995
The original Jacarepaguá, used in 1978 and 1981–1989
Interlagos 1973
The original Interlagos, used in 1972–1977 and 1979–1980
  • A pink background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.
  • Since 2021 the event has been held under the name "São Paulo Grand Prix".
Year Driver Constructor Location Report
1972 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford Interlagos Report
1973 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford Interlagos Report
1974 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Ford Report
1975 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Ford Report
1976 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari Report
1977 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari Report
1978 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari Jacarepaguá Report
1979 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Ford Interlagos Report
1980 France René Arnoux Renault Report
1981 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford Jacarepaguá Report
1982 France Alain Prost Renault Report
1983 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW Report
1984 France Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Report
1985 France Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Report
1986 Brazil Nelson Piquet Williams-Honda Report
1987 France Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Report
1988 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda Report
1989 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari Report
1990 France Alain Prost Ferrari Interlagos Report
1991 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda Report
1992 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault Report
1993 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Ford Report
1994 Germany Michael Schumacher Benetton-Ford Report
1995 Germany Michael Schumacher Benetton-Renault Report
1996 United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault Report
1997 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault Report
1998 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes Report
1999 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes Report
2000 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Report
2001 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes Report
2002 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Report
2003 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Ford Report
2004 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW Report
2005 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes Report
2006 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari Report
2007 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari Report
2008 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari Report
2009 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault Report
2010 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault Report
2011 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault Report
2012 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes Report
2013 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault Report
2014 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes Report
2015 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes Report
2016 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Report
2017 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Report
2018 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Report
2019 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Honda Report
2020 Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Interlagos Report
2022 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes Report
2023 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Honda RBPT Report

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Gran Premio de Brasil para niños

kids search engine
Brazilian Grand Prix Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.