Just one week after racing around the floodlit streets of Singapore, Round 15 of the 2009 Formula One World Championship takes the Brawn GP team over 5000kms north-east to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. Situated on Honshu, the largest of...
Just one week after racing around the floodlit streets of Singapore, Round 15 of the 2009 Formula One World Championship takes the Brawn GP team over 5000kms north-east to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Situated on Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands, the 5.897km track is owned by the Honda Motor Company and was built in 1962 as a test circuit before hosting its first Formula One race in 1987. The circuit was designed by John Hugenholtz and the 18-turn figure-of-eight layout is unique in the sport and a great favourite amongst the drivers.
Despite various modifications since 2002, Suzuka has retained much of its challenging layout with famous corners including the Spoon Curve and the high-speed 130R. After a three year absence, this weekend's race will be Suzuka's 21st Grand Prix.
ROSS BRAWN, TEAM PRINCIPAL
Q. What are your thoughts ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix?
"Suzuka is a fantastic racing circuit and a classic drivers' track so we are delighted to be returning there this weekend. The venue has played host to some great races over the years and with all the hard work that has been undertaken recently to improve the facilities, it should prove to be an even better venue for the Japanese Grand Prix after the three-year break. From Brawn GP's perspective, I was very pleased with how the team recovered well from a problematic qualifying session in Singapore and came away with further valuable points for the championship challenge. We will learn from those experiences and put the lessons in good practice for the final important three races of the season. We were pleased with the performance of the upgrades that we took to Singapore and expect to continue to see the benefits of this package in Suzuka this weekend."
Q. Are you looking forward to returning to Suzuka this weekend?
"Suzuka is such a fun circuit and I have lots of good memories from racing there over the years. It's a very fast-flowing lap and a real drivers' circuit just like Silverstone and Spa. I think everyone has missed having it on the calendar for the last few years. 130R is one of the fastest corners in Formula One and you really have to think about how you approach it. We might not be flat through there this year but it is still a real buzz to take the corner carrying speeds of 300kph. I've had some moments there in the past! I've always enjoyed great support at Suzuka in the past from the Japanese fans who are so enthusiastic about the sport so we'll be hoping for more of the same this weekend and I can't wait to race there again and put on a great show."
Q. What makes Suzuka such a favourite amongst the drivers?
"Suzuka is a great race track and we are all really pleased to be returning there for the Japanese Grand Prix this year. Besides being a challenging circuit, Suzuka holds some particularly special memories for me from my win from pole position in 2003. It's a tough circuit because of the corners and the track layout and you have to be precise, consistent and get the balance of the car absolutely right to have a good weekend. Spoon and 130R are the undoubted highlights of the lap. Both turns are part of what makes Suzuka so demanding and such a great challenge for the drivers. Overtaking can be tough and generally happens into the slowest corner on the track, the Casio Triangle, into the fast fifth-gear First Curve or occasionally at the Turn 11 hairpin."