Mercedes previews the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

The Japanese Grand Prix, Round 15 of the 2013 Formula One season, takes place at the 5.807 km Suzuka circuit on Sunday 13 October, seven days after the last race in Korea.

  • In the Esses, every corner sees lateral loadings of 3G or more with peaks of 4G in Turns 3, 7 and 8
  • The fastest corner on the circuit, Turn 15 (130R) is taken at 310 km/h (like Eau Rouge in Spa) and a lateral loading of 4G
  • The cars will top 300 km/h three times per lap, before Turns 1, 13 (Spoon) and 15 (130R)
  • Since the Japanese Grand Prix returned to Suzuka in 2009, every race has featured one Safety Car deployment

Nico Rosberg: Suzuka is one of the most exciting circuits of the year and I love racing there. Our car has been fast in high-speed corners this season as we seem to have good downforce so I hope the fast layout of Suzuka will suit us this weekend. The Japanese fans are always very enthusiastic which is fantastic and I look forward to seeing them again. I would love to get the deserved good result that has eluded us for the last few races and I know that everyone has been working really hard to achieve that.

Lewis Hamilton: Suzuka is one of the few circuits we have left in Formula 1 with the authenticity of a real old-school circuit. I drove there for the first time in 2009 and it takes a while to pick up pace each year because of how fast-flowing it is. If you touch the grass at any point, it’s going to spin you off into the wall, so it’s a much more demanding circuit in terms of precision, positioning and turning points for each corner. It’s a real race track where you have to think ahead as a driver and it just needs crazy levels of downforce from the car. From my point of view, the car felt fantastic to drive in Korea when everything was hooked up, so I am excited to get to Japan and see what we can do there.

Ross Brawn: The Japanese Grand Prix is always one of the highlights of the Formula 1 season. First of all are the fans; the Japanese public have a great passion for Formula 1 as well as a deep understanding for the sport, and it is always a pleasure to see them again when we visit Suzuka. As for the circuit itself, it is a fantastic challenge not just for the drivers but also the engineers. It includes an unusual number of medium to high speed corners, which make the circuit exhilarating to drive but also challenging to engineer. It is vital to find a comfortable, neutral car balance that gives the drivers confidence and can also look after the tyres, as this circuit is comparable to Silverstone in terms of the prolonged high lateral loadings they must cope with. It was a tough weekend for us in Korea so our clear target will be to respond to that disappointment with a result that delivers the full potential of the car we have developed this season.

Toto Wolff: The team had a frustrating time in Korea: qualifying showed the pace that we had in the car but we were not able to use it at the right moments of the race. We also lost points because of a problem on Nico’s car and everybody in the team is working hard to get on top of reliability issues like this one. Looking ahead to Japan, we can take two small positives from last weekend. First, we closed the points gap to Ferrari in the constructors’ championship, and it now stands at just a single point. The second is that our car was possibly the quickest of all in sector two last weekend, which contained all the medium and high-speed corners. This is promising for Suzuka, where nearly two thirds of the corners are taken in fourth gear or higher, and should see our car perform well on this fantastic track. It’s a true drivers’ circuit and we have the best driver pairing in the field, so I am optimistic Nico and Lewis can qualify and race strongly to bounce back from last weekend.