THE JA­PANESE GP

F1 Racing (UK) - - RACE PREVIEW -

THE MAIN EVENT

Suzuka is per­haps the most com­plete race track in F1. As you’d ex­pect from a cir­cuit de­signed as a test track, the Beast in the East de­mands a bit of ev­ery­thing: fast changes of di­rec­tion in the first sec­tor; pre­cise low-speed per­for­mance in the sec­ond; and high speeds in the third. It causes the sort of setup dilem­mas guar­an­teed to bring en­gi­neers out in a cold sweat.

It doesn’t have a sig­na­ture cor­ner, and therein lies its ap­peal: they’re all sig­na­ture cor­ners, trip­ping off the tongue with the fa­mil­iar­ity of the ages: Dun­lop, Deg­ner, Spoon, The Hair­pin, 130R. How­so­ever the cars change from era to era, there is al­ways a se­quence at Suzuka ready-made to ex­tract the max­i­mum from them – and there is no finer sight than watch­ing a For­mula 1 car hurl it­self through the Suzuka Esses.

The track can, how­ever, play sec­ond fid­dle to the fans. The en­thu­si­asm, good­will and in­ex­pli­ca­ble hats all com­bine to make Suzuka very special.

CLAS­SIC RACE: 2005

This was the race in which the un­stop­pable force of Kimi Räikkönen took on the im­mov­able ob­ject of re­al­ity and gave it a very hard shove. Out of the 28 grands prix that have been held at Suzuka, in 27 of them no one has won from fur­ther back than sixth. Yet some­how Kimi man­aged to win from 17th, de­fy­ing the odds, shred­ding the op­po­si­tion and ex­e­cut­ing a mil­lime­tre-per­fect pass on Gian­carlo Fisichella to take the lead on the last lap. The Ice­man de­liv­ereth.

RACE DATA

Cir­cuit name Suzuka In­ter­na­tional Rac­ing Course First GP 1987 Num­ber of laps 53 Cir­cuit length 3.608 miles Race dis­tance 191.054 miles Lap record 1m 31.540s Kimi Räikkönen (2005) F1 races held 28 Win­ners from pole 13 Tyres Su­per­soft, soft, medium

TV TIMETABLE (UK TIME)

Fri­day 6 Oc­to­ber Prac­tice 1 02:00-03:30 Prac­tice 2 06:00-07:30 Satur­day 7 Oc­to­ber Prac­tice 3 04:00-05:00 Qual­i­fy­ing 07:00-8:00 Sun­day 8 Oc­to­ber Race 06:00 Live coverage Sky Sports F1 High­lights Channel 4

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