The Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday at Suzuka Circuit marks the last of a three-race stretch through the Far East.
The layout of Suzuka is a figure-eight (or for the pedantic, figure-of-eight), and it’s the only track on the 21-race Formula One schedule with such a configuration. A bridge over the straight that links turns nine (Degner 2) and 10 is a signature of the track, with drivers nearing 330 kph (205 mph) as they go across the bridge through turn 15 – better known as 130R – so named because of its 130-metre radius.
The first sector of the track caters to a car’s aerodynamic efficiency, while the second sector rewards horsepower. The entire course features every kind of corner, and its relatively old asphalt surface provides a high level of grip.
The stout amount of grip combined with high lateral loads through the corners accelerates tyre wear which is why for the second successive week Pirelli has brought the three strongest tyres in its line-up – the P Zero Orange hard, the P Zero White medium and the P Zero Yellow soft.