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Formula One - Japanese GP Preview

Monday, October 1, 2012 - 15:45
Every weekend you have a chance at redemption
Singapore was a challenging weekend for Lotus F1 Team and much evaluation work has been carried out to overcome the performance difficulties encountered during practice.  Moving on to Japan, the team are hoping to hit the ground running.  Suzuka is a track with a wide range of cornering speeds including some very fast turns that will suit the E20 car.

The ebbs and flows of performance are all par for the course in Formula 1 and never more so than in the rollercoaster ride that has been the 2012 season so far.

Fourteen races in and there have been a handful of results that have allowed Ferrari to form a small lead on Lotus F1 Team in the championship.  Technical Director, James Allison believes "We’re fortunate to have a number of elements that we believe will improve our car over the remaining races.”

The goal now is to overtake Ferrari in the championship and to put Kimi back on a path that will allow him to close the gap to the front.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Räikkönen

"We know the speed is there in our car, we just have to find the right set-up to maximise it every time.

[Suzuka is] a good circuit, one that’s quite fast and there are some nice opportunities for overtaking. The best tracks for me are ones with long straights and sharp corners with lots of space for racing on, and Suzuka has that. In 2005 I had one of my best wins there after starting the race near the back of the grid and then taking the lead on the last lap.

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

I’ve only raced [at Suzuka] once but I loved it so I’m really looking forward to going back. Also, I think it’s important to say the fans are absolutely amazing in Japan, and the atmosphere around the track is very special.

We have to get the setup working perfectly as Suzuka is so demanding and exposes any weakness in the car. I think it is a place where you need just a little luck. I hope we have some of that in Japan and everything comes together.

Eric Boullier, Lotus F1 TeamEric Boullier

"I know that both Romain and Kimi enjoy the Suzuka circuit so we’re all looking forward to the race weekend.

We’re bringing a few promising updates including our “device”, we think that the track will suit our car, and we’re hoping for a gentle build up to the race, with no technical drama or dodgy weather."

Suzuka in Numbers

Suzuka, Track, Preview    3.5 : Highest g-force experienced for 2 seconds at T15
   10 : % of the lap spent braking
   40 : Total straight per lap (%)
    49 : Gear changes per lap
   65 : Lowest apex speed (kmh) at T11
   69 : % of lap at full throttle
   320 : Highest apex speed (kmh) at T15
   320 : Top speed (kmh)
   700 : Distance in metres from start line to first corner
   1200  Longest full throttle burst (metres) between T14 and T16

On Track


Suzuka, Circuit, Map, Track, F1

Turn 1 is almost flat with only a light lift. A quick turn leading into the slower Turn 2.


Understeer needs to be minimised for the constant change of direction in this series of turns, with a well-balanced car maintaining the speed.


Two tricky turns make up Degner: the first is short and narrow, with a cautious approach required because of the inner kerb. Drivers need to get as close as possible to it without making contact.


Turns 13 + 14 make up the Spoon Curve. Understeer saps speed here so needs to be minimised; a fast exit is necessary onto the following straight.

TURN 15 (130R)

130R is flat out, but more difficult when the cars are heavy with fuel.


Turn 16 is the best overtaking opportunity around the circuit layout; DRS effectiveness at this track is less than elsewhere.