Suzuka is one of the most popular races in the Circus, head to head with Spa-Francorchamps. Not only because of the technical challenge of the track’s 5,807 metres, but also for the great enthusiasm of the Japanese fans for Formula One. The track, owned by Honda, is the only one on the calendar with a “figure 8” layout. Its characteristics are the variety and combination of unique and challenging corners as well as the changes of direction and its inclinations and a third sector with a long straight. That’s why the single-seaters need high aerodynamic efficiency and a perfect set up, if they want to do well on this course. And as if that weren’t enough: for a perfect lap the drivers have to be absolutely precise in every single corner, constantly driving at the limit. Another peculiarity of the track in Suzuka is the sloping finishing line: thus, on the starting grid, the driver has to hold his foot on the brake until he can’t let go the clutch when the red lights are turned off and the race is started.
The S-bends in the first section call to mind the Maggots-Beckett in Silverstone: a sequence of five bends without a break and rapid changes of direction. The drivers arrive at the first bend with around 245 km/h, taking this first section in fourth or fifth gear. Curve 130R, in the extremely fast third sector, is driven with a fully open throttle at over 300 km/h.