I arrived at Suzuka yesterday in the late afternoon and I received a surprise straightaway. The traditional Italian restaurant “Campanella”, that is popular with many Formula 1 people, doesn’t exist any more. That’s a pity because I’ve been going there since the first time I came to Suzuka at the end of the Nineties when I raced here in karts. I was in the same hotel that I am now and so many good memories of this circuit are linked directly to that first experience. Sure, there was also the success in 2006 which was crucial for my second world championship. I well know that race probably calls something unpleasant to mind for many people both inside and outside Ferrari but that’s racing: to win on this track gives a special emotion because it’s one of the hardest tracks in the world. To succeed here you need to have a car that is very strong from the aerodynamic point of view: in some ways it’s similar to Silverstone and to Barcelona. There’s a very special first section characterised by a very long first bend and a series of Esses that can have a major influence on the lap time if you don’t get them absolutely right. It’s a track that’s very demanding both on the technical side and when it comes to driving.
As I’ve already said in recent days, the F10 has proved it is competitive at very different tracks such as Monza and Singapore so there is no obvious reason why it shouldn’t be the same in Suzuka. But to start understanding where we really are, we will have to wait until Friday afternoon after we’ve gone through the first two sessions of free practice. I like Japan, it’s one of my favourite countries. I like it for the food and for the culture, both so different from our European traditions. And then there’s Tokyo, a very beautiful city that is always very interesting. To race at Suzuka is special also for the enthusiasm of the Japanese fans who are truly passionate. We hope to offer them a good show this weekend.