Formula One heads to Asia next week for the penultimate round of the 2005 season, the Japanese Grand Prix. Despite being one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar, Suzuka remains one of the drivers' favourites, requiring the perfect blend...
Formula One heads to Asia next week for the penultimate round of the 2005 season, the Japanese Grand Prix. Despite being one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar, Suzuka remains one of the drivers' favourites, requiring the perfect blend of speed, precision and technical ability to achieve a successful result.
In preparation for next weekend's event, the team spent two days in Jerez this week carrying out an extensive testing schedule, in particular validating the development of new aero components which the team will take to Japan.
Antonio Pizzonia has been confirmed as Mark Webber's team mate for the last two races of the year, with both drivers keen on securing valuable points to consolidate the team's position in the Constructors' Championship.
"I'll be heading to Suzuka after a very busy week. I went straight from Brazil to Spain for two days of testing at Jerez, which proved very successful. We managed to achieve a lot of mileage over the course of the two days and made some electronic and mechanical changes to the car. We also completed a full programme of tyre testing for Michelin which was my last working for them, ahead of our switch to Bridgestone next season."
"Suzuka is a fairly unique circuit as it has a figure of eight track configuration and has a tremendous amount of high speed corners as well as some slow, technical ones. It's great we're going to such a fantastic venue late in the season as it will provide a good send off for the V10 engines as they can punch out their full potential on a fast, flowing circuit such as Suzuka."
"Realistically, I think our own goal for the weekend is simply to try and score some points so we can maintain a comfortable buffer between ourselves and BAR."
"I am really looking forward to racing in Japan. I don't know the circuit at all, so it is going to be a big challenge for me. Driving on a new track is always very exciting though and I've heard a lot of positive things about Suzuka, especially from other drivers, so I can't wait to drive there. I am going to practice in the team's simulator which is the best way to learn a track, apart from actually driving it, of course!"
"Due to the limited running I had during the Brazilian Grand Prix, I will have some extra miles available on my engine, which will allow some extra running on Friday and Saturday, which will help me to familiarize myself with the track. In 2001, I went to Suzuka as a spectator so I am very happy to go back this year and be among those racing!"
Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1):
"Suzuka is one of the most demanding circuits on the calendar for the drivers, where intense focus is required through the initial Esses section. If you get the first corner wrong, the penalty grows through the whole sector. With high speed corners, an hairpin and a chicane, Suzuka has everything. Strong braking performance is required for the chicane, and to a lesser extent at the hairpin."
"However, high speed stability is more important as is the driver's confidence to allow him to push hard through the Esses. Strategy will be interesting because Suzuka is one of the circuits where carrying too much fuel can be a penalty due to the high speed corners.
"We will have some aero changes in Japan which we hope will improve the FW27 for the final couple of races. We finished our 2005 in-season test programme in Jerez this week, during which Mark, Antonio and Nico worked through a comprehensive programme of tyre testing for Michelin, brake duct improvements and set-up changes for Suzuka."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"Not only is the Suzuka circuit extremely demanding from a driver's point of view. It is also a major challenge for the oil system of the BMW P84/5 engine, especially in the high-speed 130R where it has to endure tremendous lateral loads. Last year, we measured 6g in that particular corner."
"We are hoping for a positive conclusion to a disappointing season at the two remaining races in Asia. Japan and China are important markets for BMW. The BMW Group was the first European car manufacturer to launch a full subsidiary in Japan as early as 1981. In 2004, sales of BMW and MINI models in Japan exceeded 50,000, while 2005 has seen BMW claim the top slot among imported brands for the first time."