2016 Japanese Grand Prix – Preview
The 2016 Formula One World Championship season continues this weekend with Round 17, the Japanese Grand Prix, from Suzuka
- Nico: “I’m here to win races and that’s the aim every time”
- Lewis: “I will find strength from within to fight back”
- Toto: “We will bounce back from this together”
- Paddy: “Many drivers consider Suzuka the most demanding track of driver skill”
- Vital Statistics: Suzuka
Sunday was not great for us, unfortunately. My race was almost over before it even began and I feel for Lewis, as I’ve been there myself and it sucks big time to have all those points taken away from you just like that. For the guys too, seeing all their hard work destroyed in a couple of moments must be pretty brutal – especially right at the end of such a physically demanding weekend. But you cannot underestimate how strong this team is. We’ll hit back even harder. Of course, the result in Malaysia went in my favour in the title battle. That’s a fact and I cannot pretend otherwise. But I haven’t been thinking about the points situation all season and I’m not going to start now. I’m here to win races and that’s the aim every time. Suzuka is the next opportunity and I’d love to stand on top of the podium there. It’s one of the truly great, classic race tracks, where all the legends have won, so it would be an honour to add my name to that list. I need to improve on my last performances there, where it hasn’t ever really come together. But I think I’ve shown this season that I’ve learned a lot from the past two years, so I’m confident I can get on top of this challenge. Hopefully it will be a great weekend and a good close battle for those awesome Japanese fans.
Of course, last weekend was a massive disappointment. Not just for me personally but for the whole team. But there’s no use dwelling on these things. That’s just negative energy. All we can do is focus on the next race, taking things one step at a time and doing the best job we can. There’s no substitute for hard work and I’ve never been afraid of that. The guys are hurting from what happened too and I know they’ll be working just as hard to get things right next time. It’s not the lowest point I’ve had. There have been lower moments for sure. Regardless, I will find strength from within to fight back over these next five race weekends. If I can perform like I did last weekend and the car holds together, then good things can still come my way. I love the Suzuka circuit and I’ve been quick there for the past two years, so hopefully that trend will continue. I know I’ll have some fantastic support in the grandstands to lift me up and give me that extra boost. The energy from the fans in Malaysia was the best I’ve ever seen there and now we’re going to Japan, where they just seem to find another level every year. It’s insane how crazy they go for the sport and I get a real buzz out of that. Fingers crossed I can make it happen to pay them back for all the love and strength they send my way.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
Last weekend was a particularly tough one. But words won’t change that now. We pick ourselves up, brush the dust off and look ahead to the next race. With regards to Lewis, we’ve talked amongst ourselves and said “how is this possible?” But there is no rational explanation or pattern in these failures. If there were, we would resolve it. We’ve had that discussion with him and he understands that we are feeling his pain too. Despite his frustration, he has been trying to pick the team up and we admire him even more than ever for that. We will bounce back from this together. It’s tough when these things come at a crucial point in a Championship battle. It’s a massive blow to his campaign. But the Championship isn’t over yet. There are still five faces to go. It will be tough of course, as Nico is driving better than ever before. He proved that in Singapore and then again with a great recovery in Malaysia. We will let them battle it out on track over the next five races – hopefully without any reliability woes – and then see where we are. One thing is for sure – we are not going to talk any more about winning Championships before it has happened. We will keep both feet on the ground and do the best we can in every area until the job is done.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
Malaysia was a bitter pill to swallow. We let Lewis down in a big way. We are continuing to investigate the issue with his engine are doing everything we can to ensure that it is first understood and then contained for the remainder of the season. As it stands, despite the failure of this engine, Lewis now has the same stock of Power Units as Nico for the remaining five races – including used Power Units which he can fit for free practice sessions. So, hopefully there will be no further impact to his programme. Looking ahead to Suzuka, we have the same tyre compound allocation as nominated for Malaysia with the Hard, Medium and Soft. However, this is a very different race track to Sepang. It’s one of the most demanding circuits of the season for the handling of a car, with many drivers also considering it one of the most demanding of driver skill. There are some quite tricky lines and sequences to get right – particularly the ‘Esses’ and the famous ‘130R’ corner. Japan has some of the most enthusiastic fans that we see in the entire season and we really look forward to the incredible welcome that they give to the teams. Their passion for the sport is fantastic to see, so we hope to put on a great race. History has not often failed us in that respect at this iconic circuit, so it should be an exciting weekend ahead.
2016 Japanese Grand Prix Timetable
|Session||Local Time (JPT)||Brackley (BST)||Stuttgart (CEST)|
|Practice 1||10:00 – 11:30||02:00 – 03:30||03:00 – 04:30|
|Practice 2||14:00 – 15:30||06:00 – 07:30||07:00 – 08:30|
|Practice 3||12:00 – 13:00||04:00 – 05:00||05:00 – 06:00|
|Qualifying||15:00 – 16:00||07:00 – 08:00||08:00 – 09:00|
|Race||14:00 – 16:00||06:00 – 08:00||07:00- 09:00|
Weather.com Forecast (Accurate as of Tuesday 04 October)
|Thu||14 – 25°C||Sunny||10%||18mph NW||69%|
|Fri||19 – 22°C||Rain||70%||8mph ESE||67%|
|Sat||20 – 24°C||Rain||90%||6mph E||92%|
|Sun||15 – 23°C||Rain||70%||11mph NW||85%|
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