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Need To Know: 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix

The nineteenth round of the 2021 season sees Formula 1 visit Interlagos in São Paulo. Here’s everything you need to know about attending the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 12-14, 2021!

In 2020, the global pandemic meant that for the first time since 1972, the Brazilian Grand Prix did not feature on the Formula 1 calendar. The race returns in 2021, with the new official title of the São Paulo Grand Prix. 

Interlagos first appeared on the F1 schedule in 1973. Between 1978 and 1989, the Brazilian Grand Prix was held at Jacarepaguá in Rio de Janeiro, but since 1990 every running of the Brazilian Grand Prix has been held at Interlagos in São Paulo.

The city’s population has grown by over six million since F1 returned to the circuit in the 1990s. With that growing population has come a growing number of skyscrapers dominating the São Paulo skyline.

There is plenty to see on your trip to the spectacular city. From fascinating architecture, to fabulous food and massive markets, São Paulo is rich in unique cultural experiences. F1 fans can also pay their respects to Ayrton Senna, whose grave is located 15km north of the circuit. We’ve rounded up the best places to visit within the city and further afield in Off-Track Activities.

Heading to Interlagos for the first time? All the essential travel information you need is in Travel Basics.

Coronavirus protocols

Brazil has suffered one of the highest death rates during the coronavirus pandemic. In São Paulo, case numbers peaked earlier this year, in June. Presently, there are an average of just over 1,000 new coronavirus cases each week in the city – the lowest figures since the beginning of the pandemic.

Most races on the Formula 1 calendar in 2021 have required negative coronavirus tests or proof of vaccination to be admitted entry. However, that does not appear to be the case in Brazil. 

Visitors from abroad should be aware that you will require a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to check-in for your flight in order be allowed to travel to Brazil. More information can be found here

Sprint Qualifying returns

As the 2021 Formula 1 season nears its conclusion, there could be an extra twist in store for title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Plenty of famous title battles have reached their conclusion at Interlagos – but neither Verstappen nor Hamilton can win the title in Brazil this year.

For the third time in 2021, the Sprint Qualifying format will be used at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Like at the British and Italian Grands Prix, a 30-minute race will take place on Saturday afternoon to set the grid for the Grand Prix. The qualifying event will also award points – which could be vital in the battle for the title. 

Expect passionate fans

The Brazilian Grand Prix is the country’s largest annual sporting event and there’s always a carnival atmosphere in the circuit’s grandstands. Some grandstands for this year’s race are already sold out. Still looking for tickets for the race? More information can be found here.  

Brazilian Grand Prix attendance figures have not been publicly available in recent years. The last known attendance figure comes from 2017, when the weekend attendance was just over 140,000. There are no General Admission areas at Interlagos, making the average three-day ticket somewhat more expensive than at other races. The affordability for local fans is not good in Brazil. In 2019, tickets cost 28% of the average local monthly wage.

Check out our Budget Planner for the lowdown on what you can expect to spend on a trip to the Brazilian Grand Prix!

Be prepared for all weather

Be prepared for all kinds of weather at the circuit – rain has often been a factor at the Brazilian Grand Prix, most notably in 2003, 2008 and 2016. Although there are strict policies on what is and isn’t allowed to be taken into the circuit, there are plenty of amenities available inside the gates. Thankfully, the food and drink offered at the track is pretty good and inexpensive.

On track at the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix

Thanks to Sprint Qualifying, the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix features a slightly unusual schedule. The traditional qualifying hour will take place on Friday afternoon, while the Sprint Qualifying event will take place on Saturday. There will be two hours of Free Practice – an hour each on Friday and Saturday morning – while the Grand Prix itself begins at 2pm local time on Sunday. 

Aside from Formula 1, there will be three support categories taking to the track over the weekend. The one-make Porsche Cup Brasil series will host a number of races. While the GT3 Cup and Carrera Cup will race twice, a special “all-star” race will take place before the Grand Prix on Sunday morning. 

You can find all the vital information about watching the race, including session times, on our updated Trackside page.

Staying safe in the city

Sadly, the Brazilian Grand Prix sometimes appears in the news for the wrong reasons. In recent years, numerous F1 personnel have fallen victim to armed robberies when leaving the Interlagos Circuit. São Paulo does have a relatively high crime rate, so remain vigilant during your trip. More advice on safety can be found here.

If you’re not at Interlagos for this year’s Brazilian Grand Prix but want to attend next year, you can start early preparations for your trip in 2022 by checking out the best available hotels and what the local area has to offer!

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