Suzuka promises to be a thrilling race for DHL Jordan Honda as it is a favourite circuit for both Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato, the latter racing in his home Grand Prix for the first time. In addition the team is determined to exploit the...
Suzuka promises to be a thrilling race for DHL Jordan Honda as it is a favourite circuit for both Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato, the latter racing in his home Grand Prix for the first time. In addition the team is determined to exploit the remaining opportunity to score points in the 2002 Championship.
Takuma Sato is delighted about returning to the circuit which inspired him as a child and later launched his career:
"For me this will be the most exciting Grand Prix of the year because it is my home circuit," he said. "It is the first time this has ever happened to me because until now my racing has been based in Europe. Suzuka was the first place I ever saw a racing car or had any contact with motor racing. The first motor race I saw was in 1987 at Suzuka. I was a 10 year-old boy and it was like a "Mega- Shock" when I first saw Formula One cars! It was an amazing experience and I wanted to do it myself, but unfortunately my parents had no idea about motor racing."
He explains how he found a route into motorsport at a relatively late age. "Since then my heart was always in F1, but I never had the chance to enter racing because you need outside help from a lot of people. Finally, ten years later, I seized an opportunity and went to the Suzuka Racing School. I was 20 years old, which was the upper age limit, and I was so pleased to grab that last chance. Fortunately I was the fastest and won a scholarship which started my racing career."
"So five years later, I am at long last returning to Suzuka as a Formula One driver! It is the most exciting year of my life. Suzuka is the centre of my world and just so awesome for me. I want to enjoy the last Grand Prix of 2002 and am expecting the fan support to be huge! If I enjoy the race then so will the fans. I want to get my best result of the season here."
Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering:
"Suzuka is a really good `racing driver' track, like Spa or Silverstone. The driver has a massive part to play because the track is challenging with a really good fast section and high-speed corners, where balance is important but driver input is crucial. The way you drive the car here makes or breaks it and this circuit really separates the men from the boys."
"We want to finish the season with a strong result to carry momentum through the year and we are doing everything we can to do the best job possible. Like any other track that we don't test at, we have to prepare well and try to bring a good package to start with. We have made progress in recent tests and our package should be reasonable here. As always, it's a fight to qualify in the top ten, and the midfield is so competitive that you can be 10th instead of 6th if you blink at the wrong time."
"The Japanese Grand Prix is important because it's the home race of our partners Honda and Bridgestone. I was very pleased with the Suzuka tyres that we tested recently and I have to give Honda compliments for their progress throughout the year, because they have worked very hard and the engine is a big improvement on what we had at the beginning of the season."
"Suzuka is a very important race for us for many different reasons. We are close to Honda's headquarters and I would like to thank them for their efforts this season towards our good results. The same applies to my Japanese friends at Bridgestone. I need to score points at this final race, as it is important for the team's Championship results and also for my brilliant Japanese fan club which will be present. Suzuka is one of my favourite circuits because it's very demanding from an engineering point of view and the corners are second to none in terms of driving pleasure."