Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

A mountain to climb // The Fuji track is new to some, but not to all

Published by Mr. C

I've read a couple of news entries on Formula 1 sites today claiming that:

The Fuji Speedway is a new track for everyone in the F1 field.

Which isn't necessarily true.

Last used for F1 races way back in 1977, the circuit, now owned by Toyota, was closed in 2003 so that 'The Tilke' could spend some time increasing the track's length, making it ready for Formula 1 once more.

Upon reopening, each year the owners have held the Toyota Motorsports Festival, which has featured demonstration runs from current drivers including Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher.

You can expect the Toyota F1 team (and customer team Williams), to be very well prepared for this circuit - given that they own it n'all. They have unprecedented access to things like track layout, fuel economy and tyre usage, they've also run their F1 cars around the circuit on at least two occasions.

Trulli visited back in 2005, but here's a YouTube clip from the 2006 event featuring Ralf in a Toyota and Nakajima in a Williams:

There is one other team who may be reasonably well prepared, and perhaps more significantly one other driver. The team is Renault F1 and the driver, Fernando Alonso.

Back in September last year Renault held a Pit Party in Fuji, running (amongst other things) their title winning R25. Three F1 drivers were on duty that day. Giancarlo Fisichella, Heikki Kovalainen and most significantly Fernando Alonso.

That's three teams, one test driver and five race drivers... not quite a new track for everyone then! But, given the two point difference in the battle for the title right now, how important do you think that experience will be next weekend?