Suzuka Circuit, Japan – 1 October 2014
2014 Japanese Grand Prix
Venue: Suzuka Circuit
Race Laps: 53
Circuit Length: 5.807 km
Race Distance: 307.471 km
Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson to race in Japan; Roberto Merhi to drive in FP1
Roberto Merhi will take part in his second official Formula 1 session with the team during Friday morning practice in Japan. Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson will race for Caterham F1 Team at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Kamui Kobayashi, car #10: “I’m very excited to be back in front of all my Japanese fans and racing at Suzuka; I’ve been waiting for this race for over a year. The Japanese Grand Prix and Suzuka have always been very special for me: it’s where I experienced my first F1 Free Practice sessions back in 2009 and where I also achieved my first ever Formula 1 podium finish in 2012 and, this year, I am able to come back to Suzuka thanks to the support I received from my fans. This means a lot to me and I would like to thank them all once again. I only have positive feelings going into this weekend. Unfortunately, this year I have to admit that I won’t be fighting for a podium, but I will do my best to reward my fans with a strong performance in order to thank them for their enormous support – I look forward to meeting them all there.”
Marcus Ericsson, car #9: “I can’t wait to go back to Japan for my first Formula One race! It’s a country that brings back very good memories – I won the Japanese Formula Three championship there back in 2009, becoming the first Swede to win this title. Suzuka is also one of my favourite Japanese circuits and during my successful Japanese F3 season I managed to be on pole, win the race and set the fastest lap there; it’s a track I know very well. This will be the first time I drive it in a Formula 1 car and I look forward to racing through the high-speed corners. It’s a very demanding and challenging circuit, but that’s what makes it even more fun and one of the best tracks in the world.
“After a very positive end to the weekend in Singapore where we were able to stay ahead of our main competitors, I’m hoping to continue fighting out on track and make the most out of the weekend ahead in Japan. The good results are making me feel even more confident every time I get in the car; we need to make sure we make the most of the next five races and build on this momentum.”
Roberto Merhi: “I’m very happy to be driving in another FP1 session with Caterham F1 Team. I want to thank the team for this opportunity – after my first outing a month ago in Italy, I am now looking forward to another 90 minutes in the car. I will not be starting from zero like last time, so I will be able to get up to speed quicker. I have never driven in Japan, so I will need to learn the track at the same time as I continue to get used to the car, but it’s a dream come true to be able to drive at such a special track like Suzuka, I just can’t wait for it to be Friday!”
Japanese GP lowdown with Renault Sport F1 track support leader, Cedrik Staudohar
Main challenges of Suzuka for the Power Units:
The main challenge is the fast, flowing corners and complexes, including the Esses and the 130R. The driver will negotiate these at very high speed, just touching the brakes as he moves from side to side. The forces running through the PU are huge, particularly on the ICE, which will be running at close to its maximum for a large percentage of the lap.
Main energy recovery points:
The MGU-K can recover in some of the slower corners such as the chicane and Hairpin, which are both big stops in the lap. The MGU-H will also have the opportunity in the fast corners so Suzuka is not critical for energy recovery.
It’s more of a chassis track, but some elements of the PU are highly stressed, such as the ICE and turbo. It’s towards the upper end of the scale.
What to watch out for:
The 130R, which will be spectacular with the low grip and high torque of these cars – even more so if it’s wet!
Very high percentage of medium and high speed corners
Very lateral track
Kerb-riding is not a priority
In 2012, the whole West Course (T7 to T17) was resurfaced with new storm water drainage systems installed
Lots of altitude change
Very narrow track which makes overtaking difficult
Very easy on brakes
Low front ride height possible (very smooth track)
Wind direction usually changes 180 degrees between Friday and Sunday
Gearbox severity: medium
Lat/long grip: high lateral
Aero efficiency ratio: medium
Track grip evolution during w/e: high
Aero settings: medium/high
Brake wear severity: medium
Brake cooling necessity: medium/low