The Formula 1 circus heads to Japan for Round 16 of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship, which takes place at the legendary Suzuka circuit. The 5.8 km circuit has a unique figure of 8 layout and is situated south-west of Nagoya which is the third largest city in Japan. Over the years, the Japanese GP has seen many pivotal races and it has been the scene of many famous championship deciders.
The circuit was built in 1987, initially as a test track for Honda Motorcycles, and ever since then has been a firm fixture on the F1 calendar alternating with Fuji raceway for some of the races.
The track in itself has a mixture of fast corners, long straights and slow chicanes which make life very tough for driver’s and engineer’s alike. The various combination of corners means that getting setup right is always a compromise around Suzuka. The track tends to reward cars with good aerodynamic efficiency so expect the Red-bull and Ferrari to be the prime contenders for this weekend.
Some of the most famous corners in Formula 1 are a part of the Suzuka circuit, notably the 130 R which is a very fast right hander and back in the days it was one of the most dreaded corners which used to separate the men from the boys, but with high downforce levels of modern F1 cars, the corner is taken flat-out in the dry but can be quite tricky in wet conditions.
Another interesting part of the circuit is the Esses, which are the S-curves at the beginning of the lap, the track is very narrow through here and there’s just a single racing line so driver’s need to attack with pin-point accuracy, also there’s lot of lateral G-force on the drivers and cars, so the race can be quite tiring and challenging especially for the neck muscles, particularly in the latter part of the grand prix.
The Spoon curve is another very challenging and technical double apex left hander, again their’s lot of lateral load on the cars and the drivers tend to take quite a lot of speed at the entry and then they brake and turn at the same time for the exit, the car’s here have a tendency to understeer through the entry phase and then as the drivers get on the power at the exit, the rear tends to step out so they have to watch out for snap oversteer.
So, now let’s take an On-board Track guide of this legendary circuit: