Nico Hulkenberg: "I am going [to Suzuka] in a very optimistic mood.”
Hinwil – After the Korean GP the Sauber F1 Team continues its Asian journey by heading to Japan, a country with very passionate Formula One fans. Sauber F1 Team driver Nico Hülkenberg is looking forward to a good weekend all round. Esteban Gutiérrez is excited to finally drive on a track he already counts as one of his favourites.
The Sauber F1 Team is pleased to announce Kimiya Sato will drive a straight line test on 18th October in Vairano, Italy. In addition he will be reserve driver for the Sauber F1 Team over the weekend of the Japanese Grand Prix. Kimiya tested for the team at the Young Driver Training Test at Silverstone earlier this year.
Given the history of the Sauber F1 Team with valuable Japanese partners like NEC Japan, and its support for motorsport in a country that has very passionate fans, both parties took this opportunity to work together.
I especially love the way they wave with both hands, and I shall certainly try to learn this double wave as it looks great. Of course, the track has two amazing corners in the Esses and 130R. In a Formula One car it is a great track to drive on, and one where you can really use the downforce and certainly feel it. It is a very high G force track, which means it is quite physical, especially on the neck. Away from the track I also enjoy the food, especially the teppanyaki and sushi. It goes without saying I would like to have a good result there and, after finishing seventh last year, I am going in a very optimistic mood.”
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 12): “Suzuka is a circuit I always wanted to drive on. I know it very well from all the onboard footage that I’ve watched, and I know the track from last year when I went with the team to the GP. It’s an interesting track with a lot of fast corners and it’s quite technical too.
I can already say it will be one of my most favourites. I’m looking forward to going to Japan again. The fans are amazing, they know a lot about Formula One, and they even knew me last year when I was the reserve and test driver. It’s a great atmosphere, there is a good energy, and seeing the fans so passionate about the sport motivates me too.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: “Suzuka is one of the most technically challenging circuits for both drivers and engineers. Knowing the best places to compromise is very important, and this is the case particularly in the first sector, as one corner leads straight into the next with multiple changes of direction. It is important to give the driver confidence in the car so that he can get into a good rhythm.
The majority of the corners are medium to high speed, with only two slow speed corners per lap. The fantastic circuit and enthusiasm of the local fans makes it one of the most enjoyable races of the season. The nature of the track makes it hard on the tyres so Pirelli is bringing its most durable compounds - the medium and hard. Overtaking is not easy, so again we will focus on a strong qualifying to give ourselves the best chance of scoring points.”