Suffice to say, Suzuka is a famed track, where many championships have been won. However, it isn’t as storied as the Italian or Monaco Grand Prix. It has had it’s share of battles, especially since it is one of the last races on the calendar. In some years, it was the last race and decided a few Driver’s Championships, and Constructor’s Championships. A few Japanese Grand Prix highlights of the past would be Mika Hakkinen’s win of the WDC, over Michael Schumacher in 1998. Or maybe one of the most famous rivalries to ever hit Suzuka; Senna vs Prost.

Let’s have a look at what Pirelli thinks of this medium to high speed track.

Pirelli’s Suzuka Preview

This year, as was last, Pirelli will be bringing the orange striped hard tyre and the white striped medium tyre. The track is similar in style to Spa-Francorchamps, but because of the heavier lateral loads, Pirelli has chosen a step harder than Spa here. The challenge will be keeping the tires up to temperature, as it can be cool this time of year in Japan. In addition, the track is somewhat abrasive, which increases wear rates on the tyres.

Japan is one of the highlights of the year, not just for ourselves but for the whole of Formula One. The fans are absolutely brilliant, with huge enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport, which is almost unparalleled anywhere in the world. Suzuka is a real drivers’ circuit, and because of that it is a considerable challenge for the tyres, with some of the biggest lateral energy loads of the year. As a result, it would probably be realistic to look at between two to three pit stops, with tyre management forming a key part of the race. However, we’ll obviously know more about that after free practice. It’s a track where several forces are often acting on the tyre at once, and the increased torque but decreased downforce of this year’s cars will only place more demands on mechanical grip. If a tyre can perform well in Suzuka, it can perform well almost everywhere.Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Suzuka is just an amazing track from a driver’s perspective. It’s very technical, with each bit of the circuit very different from the others. I would say that 130R is one of the most demanding corners of the entire year, which requires the right set-up and a car that is absolutely planted to the ground. The esses are also extremely demanding: if you make just one mistake here that will disrupt the whole sequence and you lose a lot of time. We’ve raced many times at Suzuka in the rain: in those situations, visibility is extremely low. We also tend to see a lot of track evolution over the course of the weekend. So we start off with a surface that is very abrasive and ‘green’ but the driver has to pay a lot of attention to how the situation changes over the weekend and how in turn that affects the tyres.Jean Alesi, Pirelli consultant

By this time of the year in Formula One, you see a few different things in the field. Cars that are still working on upgrades for this season, to come out with the maximum points available, and those that have chosen to continue to race, but only including what they have at the moment, and focusing more on what developments can be made next year. We know that Caterham has a new front wing they are bringing to the table, and Force India are continuing to develop their VJM07 in order to fend off McLaren in the Constructor’s Championship.

suzuka 2013

Since not much will change regulation-wise between now and 2015, I’m going to venture to guess most teams will continue to develop on their existing cars, as only minor changes will effect them next year. However, it’s being suggested that since Honda is coming to McLaren next year, a new chassis may be in the cards, to accommodate Honda’s needs. Also, Ferrari may be doing some changing for next year, as their car is down on power as well, so look for that.

Will you be tuning in to watch the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka? I know I will!

Track Profile: Suzuka

About the author

Jeff Trocchio

Apple IIe green screen is whence I came. Where I go, only technology knows. If its Automotive, Mobile, Gaming or Computer tech I'll try my best to give my thoughts on it.