Japanese GP: Sauber preview

The 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship is moving into its final leg with the two remaining 'Eastern' races, and Team Sauber Petronas heads to Suzuka for the penultimate event, the Japanese Grand Prix. Willy Rampf (Technical ...

The 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship is moving into its final leg with the two remaining 'Eastern' races, and Team Sauber Petronas heads to Suzuka for the penultimate event, the Japanese Grand Prix.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Achieving fast laps at Suzuka is all about getting a good balance on the car. Apart from the relatively long back straight where low drag would be beneficial, this is a high downforce circuit. We will be aiming primarily with our set-up to create a car that is neutral and driveable."

"In particular the Esses at the start of the lap are crucially important. That's where the driver needs a car that changes direction quickly and precisely. Any handling imbalance will cost you a lot of time there. Further round the lap the wide variety of corners, especially the challenging 130R which is one of the great corners in F1, pushes the drivers and the car to their extreme limits.

"Due to its high number of corners, Suzuka is very hard on the tyres. The tyre degradation could be decisive for the race pace. That's another reason why you need good handling balance, to preserve the tyres as much as you possibly can."

"Apart from that Suzuka is a real drivers' circuit; it is an 'old' narrow track with a lot of medium and high-speed corners and very little run-off area where a small driving error means the end of the race. For the drivers it is equally demanding on the physical side as the corner density is one of the highest of the season."

Jacques Villeneuve (150 GPs, 9 points 2005):

"In general Suzuka is an amazing track. It is one of the most beautiful that we have on the Grand Prix calendar. I don't really like the chicane and the hairpin is not fun, but it's okay and it's logical. Otherwise the circuit is quite technical, very challenging and there are a lot of difficult and demanding high-speed corners."

"It is difficult to get a rhythm but when you do a good lap at Suzuka it feels really, really good. Out of all the tracks we currently race on, Suzuka is one of my personal favourites. I like racing in Japan, and since it's one of the last races of the year this always adds to the excitement."

Felipe Massa (51 GPs, 8 points 2005):

"Suzuka is one of my favourite circuits. It's right up there with Spa-Francorchamps as the most challenging that we visit. It's a fantastic circuit and I love to race there. You need a lot of downforce because of all the corners, but you also need low drag on the long straights so you have to compromise when setting up the car. That just adds to the excitement you feel there."

"In particular, 130R is a superb corner, and it can be very tricky if you take downforce off! Overall, I hope that the C24 suits the track; we had quite a good race there last year, so I am optimistic I can do something good this weekend."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Felipe Massa
Teams Sauber