Introduction to the Grand Prix
The F1 Brazilian Grand Prix is held at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit, named after the Brazilian F1 driver who died in a place crash in 1977. Most fans better know the circuit as ‘Interlagos’ after the neighbourhood in Sao Paulo it is located in. The track surface is quite rough and as the circuit is one of the shortest on the F1 calendar, there is little margin for error. F1 Brazilian Grand Prix is the only race currently held in South America and one of only 2 races in Latin America besides the F1 Mexican Grand Prix.
- First Grand Prix: 1973
- Number of Laps: 71
- Circuit Length: 4.309km
- Corners: 15
- Fastest Lap: 1:10.540 by Valtteri Bottas in 2018
- Language: Portuguese
- Currency: Brazilian real (BRL)
- Time: GMT-3 (Sao Paulo)
What are the best grandstands to watch F1 Brazilian Grand Prix?
All of the grandstands at Interlagos are covered with the exception of grandstands A and G. Most of the seats at this circuit are unallocated. You should get a good look around on Friday or Saturday and get there early on Sunday to reserve your spot. Not all of the grandstands are available to the general public as some will be reserved for corporate events.
Grandstand D – this grandstand sits on the first corner of the track and overlooks the ‘Senna S’. Most of the overtaking battles begin on the first corner and end over the ‘S’. Hence, a seat at this grandstand will give you the best chance of seeing some wheel to wheel action.
Grandstand B – a popular grandstand with the fans, right beside the starting grid and across the pits. You will hear the full blast of the engine sound here as the seats are very close to the track. A seat here is great for those who want to see the race build up, pit-stop action and the post-race celebrations.
Grandstand A – another popular choice with the fans and arguably provides for the best atmosphere. The view will depend on where you sit but we recommend getting a high up seat on the pits side. Not only will you be able to see some of the starting grid action but also a good chuck of the infield. Be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen as this is one of the uncovered grandstands. A poncho may also come in useful as the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix is held during the monsoon season. If you don’t have one with you, they are available to buy at the circuit.
Grandstand R – located on the far side of the track, this grandstand provides decent views of the ‘Senna S’ where most of the action happens as well as the back straight. Most years it is reserved for corporate events but a good choice if you can get a ticket.
The organisers do not offer general admission tickets as the circuit is set in between two lakes (‘Interlagos’). Its location makes the grounds around the track swampy and therefore walking around the infield is prohibited.
How to get to F1 Brazilian Grand Prix?
Getting to and around Sao Paulo
Majority of the fans flying to Sao Paulo from outside of Brazil will likely land in the Guarulhos International Airport located 25km from Sao Paulo city centre. Most of the intercontinental flights are served by the newest and most modern Terminal 3. There are several options for you to take in order to get to Sao Paulo city centre.
There is only one taxi company operating at the Guarulhos airport – Guarucoop. Taxi ranks are located outside of the arrival gates. Fares are fixed and you can expect to pay 150-200 Real to Sao Paulo city centre. You can also pay for your fare in advance by a credit card at the ticket booth.
Uber is also available in Brazil. Depending on your destination, it may work out cheaper than a taxi so it’s best to check for an estimate on the app once you are there.
Sao Paulo suffers from horrid traffic jams so you can expect a journey to Sao Paulo city centre to take 1hr – 1hr30min with average traffic.
A much cheaper option than a taxi at 39 Real is to take the dedicated Airport Bus Service. The buses are quite comfortable, clean and have Wi-Fi on board. Unfortunately, there are few bus-only lanes and it suffers from the same traffic jams as the taxi.
Here is a list of station the bus serves: Tatuape Metro Station, Congonhas Airport, Republic square, Hotels Circuit, Itaim Bibi and the Bara Funda Bus terminal.
You have 2 most convenient options:
Airport Express direct train service runs from the airport to the Luz station in Sao Paulo. The trip costs around 9 Real and takes only 35 minutes with no stops in-between. The only downside of this service is the frequency of trains which may not suit your arrival time.
Mon-Fri (9:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 21:00), Weekends and Holidays (7:05, 12:05 and 17:05)
Connect service runs between the airport and Bras station, making 3 stops at Tatuape, Goulart Engineer and Gauralhos-Cecap stations. It takes roughly 35 minutes and costs 4 Real.
Mon-Fri (06:25, 05:05, 05:45, 18:05, 18:45 and19:25). Only the morning service runs on Saturday with no services on Sunday.
Due to Sao Paulo being famous for some of the worst traffic jams in the world, we do not recommend you to rent a car.
Getting to the Interlagos circuit
By far the safest and quickest way to get to the circuit is to use the metro. It is very well developed and the most popular choice for those travelling to the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix. A one way trip from downtown should take about an hour and a single use metro tickets cost 4 Real. Get off at the Autodromo station which is located only a 10-15 minute walk from the circuit. While there is generally police presence around here during the Grand Prix weekend, you should walk with the crowd as the road to the circuit goes by the side of a favela.
By taxi/ride-sharing app
While the comfort of your own transport is appealing, be mindful that traffic in Sao Paulo, especially at the weekends, moves at a snail’s pace. Getting a taxi or an Uber to the circuit should not be a problem but they will be in high demand after the race.
Every year, there are Grand Prix shuttle buses from various locations in the city to bring you to the circuit and back. Your best bet is to check with your hotel if there are any nearby if you wish to use them.
Where to stay for the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix?
Sao Paulo is the 4th largest city in the world and the economic centre of Brazil. As people migrated here in the 19th century, unplanned, low-income community settlements started to spread. As these settlements, known as favelas, started to grow, so did Sao Paulo’s struggle with crime and public security.
While in recent years, Sao Paulo’s local government and police force have done a remarkable job in reducing crime and cleaning up the city, visitors should avoid walking alone at night and choose their accommodation wisely. On a brighter side, even in the good areas of Sao Paulo, there is a big range of accommodation options available to suit all budgets.
Paulista Avenue/Jardins Area – one of the best and safest areas to stay for tourists, especially first timers in Sao Paulo. Plenty of hotels, good restaurants and bars can be found here. The metro also runs underneath Paulista Avenue which is very useful for those looking to use it to get to the Interlagos circuit on race weekend.
Vila Madalena – a middle class neighbourhood known for its bohemian culture. The area is full of street art, filled with unique galleries and studios, funky bars and restaurants and trendy shops. You will find plenty of affordable accommodation here as the area is popular with backpackers.
Morumbi – one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods of Sao Paulo, an area where many of the F1 teams stay. It’s not as busy as the other 2 areas mentioned above and may not suit those looking to go out in the evening but has some of the best shopping malls in the city. The neighbourhood is also home to the biggest privately owned football stadium in Brazil – Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo.
Due to several favelas located near the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, we do not recommend you to stay near the circuit.
What else is there to do in Sao Paulo?
Sao Paulo is a huge city and many of its tourist attractions are spread out across it. Thankfully, the metro system is very well connected and affordable so you should make good use of it to travel around the city.
Kartódromo Ayrton Senna – re-named in 1996 in dedication to the three-time F1 world champion and one of the first karting tracks in Brazil. Many of Brazil’s racing legends have grown up training here including F1 world champions Ayrton Senna and Emerson Fittipaldi. The 1.15km track is located at the Interlagos circuit and is open to the public Tuesday to Friday 17:30 to late evening and from mid-day to late evening on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost 120 Real for 25 minutes of track time.
Ibirapuera Park – not just any city park, but an important cultural centre for Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo fashion week, the biggest fashion event in South America is held here and one of the top music venues of the city, Auditório Ibirapuera is located inside the park. It is also just a nice place to come and relax and you will find many monuments, museums, playgrounds and performance spaces at this park.
Beco de Batman – located in the artsiest area of the city, Vila Madalena, it attracts countless tourists every year. ‘Batman Alleyway’ is named after one of the first drawings on its walls in the 1980s. Since then, it has grown to be the first open air museum dedicated to graffiti in Sao Paulo.
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