Suzuka a happy hunting ground for Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull celebrate victory after the 2009 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

Sep.29 (Red Bull Racing) Up there with Spa as a contender for every drivers’ favourite circuit, is the former test track at Suzuka and in our previous two outings here have brought us two Sebastian Vettel victories. 2010 saw Mark Webber hot on his heels in a Red Bull Bull Racing 1-2 that edged Seb and the team closer to our first world championships. But only after Saturday’s Qualifying was cancelled due to torrential rain with the session being held on the morning of the race.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian leads from the start of the 2010 Japanese GP

The year before Mark had a disappointing afternoon, coming home 17th after a crash in practice meant he missed Qualifying and started from the pitlane. He did however record the fastest lap of the race.

Before our podiums, we had a decent record at Suzuka, with David Coulthard coming home sixth in 2005 and fourth in 2007. Mark also secured a point in 2008, finishing eighth.

This is the 26th Japanese Grand Prix. The race was first run at Fuji Circuit in 1976 and 1977 before Japan was taken off the F1 the calendar. It returned in 1987 and, apart from two years back at Fuji in 2007-08 has been held at Suzuka ever since.

Designed as a test track for Honda by John Hugenholtz, Suzuka features all the elements that make a truly great F1 circuit: rapid changes of direction, technical complexes that test the reflexes and fast, sweeping, flat-out corners which push a driver to the limit.

Mark Webber Adrian Newey

Mark Webber and Adrian Newey celebrate on the Suzuka podium last year

It is the only F1 race track that follows a figure-of-eight format, with the circuit passing over itself by means of an overpass just before the hairpin. There are 18 turns on Suzuka’s 5.807km lap. The race is 53 laps, a distance of 307.471km.

The lap record is held by Kimi Raikkonen who did 1:31.540 in 2005, while Michael Schumacher has the most number of wins in Japan, with six, while he’s started from pole on no less than eight occasions here – behind him seven other drivers are tied on two wins, including Vettel.

Suzuka Circuit is 50km south west of Nagoya, Japan’s third-largest city, but people do tend to stay in the immediate area as the circuit has plenty on offer entertainment-wise, including gyms, hot springs, tennis courts, golf courses, karaoke bars and, of course, the on-site theme park with roller-coaster and Ferris wheel.