Suzuka is great track, maybe the greatest track. It has 16 turns, but is still considered a figure 8 course, who knew that was possible. Formula 1 has undercut the mystique of Suzuka by moving the Japanese Grand Prix earlier in the calendar, but that is OK, Suzuka still brings it.
I like to call it Suzukar, kind of fine to say with an accent. Another important note about the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, this is McLaren Honda’s home race. No pressure, but if you mess up your home GP, you may as well work from home on Monday. Probably stay home Tuesday as well. I bet Alonso gets a podium this weekend.
Back to the circuit. Here it is:
Does that look like a figure 8 to you? I don’t think so. But still a cool track. The overpass between turns 14 and 15 is a nice feature. The change in elevation required for this overpass gives the track a great look.
The Spoon curve has been know to give some of the more aggressive drivers problems in the past. You need to give the Spoon its due respect, or you will find yourself hitching a ride back to the paddock in a scooter. The circuit is know for being incredibly demanding on the drivers and tyres. It is a high speed track, with many corners.
The drivers love Suzuka, it is challenging, but also allows for overtaking. Qualifying will not dictate the end result here. Car setup will be vital because of the varied nature of high speed straights and low speed turns. Buckle in for a wild ride. Even though the championship will not be decided in Japan this year, you can bet there will be some fireworks before the day is done. Put on your crazy Japanese Grand Prix hat and crack open a Sapporo, maybe 2.
My prediction, Vettel takes P1, Lewis P2, Ricciardo P3. Most writers here won’t go out on a limb before the race, but I will always give the readers what they want.