Japanese GP: Cosworth preview

cosworth engine

Oct.04 (Cosworth) Formula One continues its overseas tour as Suzuka plays host to round 16 of this year’s world championship, the Japanese Grand Prix, which takes place this weekend.

Japanese Grand Prix from an Engine’s Perspective
The Suzuka Circuit is often cited alongside Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone as one of a Formula One driver’s favourite circuits, and it is clear to see why. A versatile mix of high and low speed corners of different configurations around an almost 6km long track shaped like a figure 8, Suzuka is a technically, physically and mentally challenging race circuit. Then there is the ultra-fast 130R turn, corner 15 of 18, arguably one of the sternest tests of the season for car and driver alike.

At Suzuka, more than most other places, success will be a result of all parameters working in harmony – chassis, engine, tyres and driver. Such is the complexity of the track, teams generally find it tough to pinpoint the optimum set-up for the weekend, so trouble-free track time in free practice will be important to evaluate the multitude of options.

Engine performance alone is not a key indicator of car performance around Suzuka, although it plays an important role. Drivers will need to be quick on the throttle heading out of the Spoon curve in order to maximise their run through 130R, the quickest part of the track where engine power will come to the fore. The “S” curves at the start of the lap are another special feature of Suzuka with quick change of direction crucial to a competitive first sector.

Fast Fact
The 2004 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka saw one of Formula One’s most action-packed days as the threat of approaching Typhoon Ma-on forced all of Saturday’s running to be cancelled. Both qualifying sessions and the 53-lap race were all squeezed into a bumper but busy Sunday schedule.

This Weekend in History… 10 October 1976
James Hunt took the 1976 Drivers’ World Championship for McLaren-Ford in a wet-dry inaugural Japanese GP at Fuji Speedway. A number of drivers, including championship challenger Niki Lauda, withdrew from the race because of the initially wet conditions. Hunt took the lead from the start and persevered to claim third place after some nailbiting final laps, which was enough to secure him the title.