McLaren at the 2013 Formula One Japanese Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Suzuka is an old-style circuit featuring a trademark figure-of-eight layout, with the back straight passing over the front section via an overpass. The unique layout provides drivers with nearly every possible corner, from high speed kinks to flowing linked turns to profiled curved bends, chicanes and hairpins. This makes it quite challenging, which in turn leads to an above average level of overtaking, predominantly due to driver errors.
It should probably come as little surprise then that since the Japanese GP returned to Suzuka in 2009, each race has featured one safety car deployment.
Track length is 3.6 miles and drivers will have to complete 53 laps. Pirelli has brought its P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium tires, which are well-suited to the circuit’s variety of corners and hard braking. The current weather forecast for Sunday’s race is clear skies and warm conditions, which should make for a great day of racing.
Sebastian Vettel leads the Drivers’ Championship points tally with 247 points, followed by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with 187 points and Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton with 151 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing commands 377 points versus the 274 points of Ferrari and the 267 points of Mercedes AMG.
As mentioned, depending on the outcome of the race, we may see Vettel awarded his fourth consecutive Drivers’ title. He would need to win the race and Alonso finish ninth or lower. Since first hosting an F1 race in 1987, 11 World Champions have been crowned at Suzuki. Perhaps we’ll soon see a 12th.