Pierre Gasly has taken encouragement from his recent AlphaTauri pace despite his penalty points haul coming close to resulting in a race ban.
Romain Grosjean is the most recent driver to receive a ban from the FIA after his part in the dramatic first-corner crash at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix forced the governing body to take action.
In order to take control of on-track skirmishes, the FIA introduced the current penalty points system in 2014, with some drivers coming close to a ban but none crossing the 12-point threshold.
But Gasly must now navigate the next nine events almost without incident in order to avoid the ignominy of such action.
Despite his mounting tally, however, Gasly believes AlphaTauri has the pace to topple Haas in its battle for eighth in the constructors' standings, with just a single point separating the rival outfits.
“I can look ahead to the final two races of the season taking some encouragement from the fact our performance level in Austin and Mexico was pretty good," said Gasly.
"Sure, I had penalties both times which meant there were no points, but in both places, we were fighting for the top ten and I hope that will also be the case in Brazil.
"It’s always special to go to Interlagos, as I got my first podium there in 2019 and last year I finished seventh. Generally, I’ve gone well in Brazil, and I also have a lot of fans there.
"I’m looking forward to the weekend, even though this year, everywhere we go has been a bit tougher than the previous season, so we know it’s more complicated to fight to finish in the top ten, but it’s not impossible. We will be aiming for the points that we need to get ahead of Haas."
Gasly warns of weather interruption
Rain has played a part in a number of recent races with the Singapore Grand Prix delayed by an hour and the Japanese event paused for over two hours.
More rain is expected to fall this weekend with Saturday and Sunday to be particularly affected by the conditions.
"We know the weather can play a big part at this race and currently rain is forecast for Saturday and Sunday, so we will have to be ready to take our chances," Gasly added.
"The track is bumpy, but we found in Austin and Baku that it is not particularly difficult to deal with in these new cars and it didn’t worry me too much in the simulator.
"However, physically, it is tough, being an anti-clockwise track as well as the fact that none of the straights are actually straight!
"It’s another sprint weekend and that’s something that has not gone very well for us up until now, but we will deal with it, do our best and the extra race might mean an additional chance to go and chase the points we need in our championship fight, which is no bad thing.”