The Japan Grand Prix come back here Formula 1 calendar this weekend after its final run in 2019. The race, which serves as lap 18 of the 2022 season, takes place at the iconic Suzuka Circuit, a lap unique in that the track layout creates figure eight.
Ask any driver to list their three favorite circuits, and most of them will include this one. It was designed in 1962 by Dutch racing and car designer John Hugenholz, originally as a test track for Honda, and was not incorporated as a F1 circuit in 1987. It is famous for its high speed and limited flow area.
It’s a circuit of two halves, spanning 3.6 miles and taking in virtually every possible angle, from high-speed twists to flowing link turns and curvy bends, chicanes and hair clips. It is therefore a difficult challenge for power units that need to distribute across the entire power spectrum without compromising drivability and responsiveness.
Similarly, the driver can never stop working because there are not many emergency brakes and as mentioned above, the areas of water flow are limited. It’s a track where finding a good rhythm and a good rhythm balance is the key to success. The track is also quite narrow, overtaking is very difficult, so strategy is also very important.
Suzuka circuit, home of the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix – Photo: Getty Images
The track surface is also one of the roughest and most abrasive of the year, which means that the tires are subject to a high degree of wear and tear. As such, Pirelli has designated C1 harder as Hard White, C2 as Medium Yellow and C3 as Soft Red for the weekend.
Suzuka is also famous for its changeable weather, which can be stormy at this time of year. Friday’s practice saw heavy rain and current forecasts suggest sunny conditions for Saturday’s qualifying and possibly more rain during Sunday’s race.
After Friday’s practice session, Mercedes-Benz AMG’s George Russell was the fastest, leading teammate Lewis Hamilton. Behind are Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez of Red Bull Racing, third and fourth respectively.
Entering the weekend, Verstappen leads the 2022 Drivers’ Championship with 341 points. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is second with 237 points, and Perez is third with 235 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull led with 576 points, compared with Ferrari’s 439 and Mercedes’ 373. The The 2019 Japanese Grand Prix winner is Valtteri Bottasdriving for Mercedes.