Fine weather has dominated recent Formula 1 events, but you might have known there would be a sting in the tail at Interlagos. All it required was for Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso to play their parts well and drive this pulsating season forward to a final showdown.
Lewis Hamilton helped in the grand plan enormously with a faultless victory at the Circuit of the Americas yesterday. But rather than dwell on the race itself, it is perhaps more important for the sport and its relationship with America, that the event proved to be such a wonderful success. The track grew on me more and more throughout the weekend and everyone – be it the teams, journalists, organisers and fans – was glowing with praise. It was a great start to the Austin adventure.
So it comes down to Interlagos and the weather may just do the tifosi a favour here.
The first few days of this week will feature familiar Sao Paulo fare – mainly sunny conditions in the morning and early afternoon, rising temperatures and the possibility of a late-afternoon storm cell moving through. Temperatures will rise steadily over the next few days, to a high of 30 Celsius.
Thursday should produce the best of the weather around Interlagos this week. It will be dry for the pre-event media briefings and interviews, with plenty of sunshine around and no hint of any showers. Air temperature will continue to climb, reaching 31 degrees.
On Friday we return to the standard ‘boom and bust’ scenario. First practice will be dry and sunny with just one or two light clouds around, but conditions will cloud over a little for the afternoon session, with a chance of early evening storms. Air temperature is tipped to climb even higher, reaching 33 Celsius during P2.
But, there is a big change on the horizon. A cold front is going to form over central Argentina on Wednesday. It will quickly intensify into a potent system and begin to track slowly north-east towards Brazil, reaching Sao Paulo and Interlagos by Saturday afternoon. Final practice will likely stay dry, but this is subject to change and depends on how things develop over the coming days. Showers and thundery downpours are expected after midday, so this obviously brings a high chance of a wet qualifying session. Air temperature will reach approximately 31 degrees before the chaos begins, but there will be a sharp decrease in the ambient once the rain arrives.
Conditions will steadily deteriorate from then on and Saturday evening and overnight looks particularly bad with heavy downpours, perhaps amounting to three inches of rainfall, as the front crosses south-east Brazil.
This risk of rain will continue into Sunday morning, but by around midday the worst of the rain wil have passed. There remains a chance of showers at the back end of this cold front, but they will generally become less frequent. If the system blows through quickly, then the title decider could be fully dry, but if it stalls or slows down anytime between Wednesday and Saturday, then this obviously brings the potential of showers more towards the race window. Cold air that has been dragged in behind the front will mean a much lower maximum on race day, reaching just 20 Celsius.
So, there is a lot going on this week and the destiny of the race and the title could be partly influenced by weather this weekend. The forecast above merely sets the general trend and I will be keeping up with the latest developments over the next 48 hours. Given the world championship situation and the potential for heavy rain, I hope to pen a short update on Wednesday and we will go daily from there.