One of the greatest tracks used in Formula One today, Japan’s Suzuka circuit is a massive test of car and driver ability. Built by Honda as a test facility in 1962, the track was designed by Dutchman John Hugenholz, the Hermann Tilke of his day (but don’t let that put you off). A huge theme park was also constructed at the track, including the famous big wheel which dominates the Suzuka skyline.
At Suzuka the race has provided the scene for many nail-biting end-of-season deciders, including the infamous collisions involving Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. This week, will it be Pastor Maldonado, Romain Grosjean, or Felipe Massa in the colliding business?
Suzuka includes some of the Grand Prix calendar’s most challenging corners. Among the drivers’ favorites are the high-speed 130R taken at over 300 km/h and the famous Spoon Curve taken at 140 km/h on the way in and at 180 km/h coming out.
With the results from Korea one week ago still in everybody’s minds, will Suzuka be a firecracker or a fizzer? With a circuit that encourages passing, it would have to be a better race than Singapore for example, and I don’t care how many “celebrities” Bernie invites.
I will be watching from my usual perch at Jameson’s Irish Pub, Soi AR, next to Nova Park for the 53 lap GP of the 5.8 km circuit. We have the big screen and the dedicated F1 channel with no adverts during the race. That’s a bonus by itself! Now, important – with the time differential between here and Japan, the race on Sunday starts at 1 p.m. Thai time. Qualifying on the Saturday is 12 noon. Join us for lunch and a couple of jars before the red lights go out.