Twenty minutes to go. Interlagos, like Silverstone and Spa, has the ability to conjure weather systems out of nowhere, although these suddenly leaden skies were always a possibility. All along the pit lane, team principals stare at their radar screens and silently seethe. Nature has departed from the script once again.
We’re in the parc fermé. This is the severely restricted holding area where the cars go post-qualifying for technical inspection, and remain until Sunday morning. Only FIA personnel are usually permitted in here, unless a senior race team member has been invited to observe, but this weekend - the climax of perhaps the most unpredictable Formula One season in over a generation - Top Gear has secured a Willy Wonka golden ticket-style access-all-areas pass. This weekend, the slightly scary men from the FIA are going to show us how they run a Grand Prix.
Words: Jason Barlow
Photos: Darren Heath
This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine