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Japan 2010 - Race information // Previewing this weekend's racing action from Suzuka

Published by Christine

The Japanese GP is almost a hidden gem of the F1 calendar. It's tucked away towards the end of the season, not quite far enough along to be a championship decider. It's on in the early hours of the morning in the UK, providing an opportunity to watch F1 under the comfort of a duvet - something Bernie is pushing hard to eradicate. The weather is always something to look out for, and the racing is usually above average. Roll on the weekend, then, and the race at Suzuka.

Event schedule

Last time we peeked into the F1 paddock, drivers were chopping and changing all over the grid. Heidfeld returned to race for Sauber, and Christian Klien got a chance in the HRT. By all accounts they both did quite well. HRT have yet to confirm who'll be racing for them this weekend, issuing a preview statement with no word about drivers. Your guess is as good as mine.

Force India have confirmed that Paul di Resta won't be getting any track time on Friday, as they'd prefer the race drivers to get to grips with both the circuit, and some new upgrades. It's a crucial point in the season for the mid-table teams, and bringing new parts to the car at this late stage shows they are still pushing hard to the finish.

Up at the front, those same old names are still fighting for 2010 supremacy. Hamilton says he will be holding nothing back this weekend, whilst Alonso is ready for things to get a bit scrappy. Meanwhile, Red Bull acknowledge that back-to-back victories hand the momentum to Ferrari, but they're confident that the track will suit their car and they should be able to do well. Webber is also grateful for his 11 point buffer - even if it's only slight.

Session Timetable
DateDaySessionTime (GMT +0100)Time (Local)
8 OctoberFridayFree Practice 102:0010:00
Free Practice 206:0014:00
9 OctoberSaturdayFree Practice 303:0011:00
Qualifying06:0014:00
10 OctoberSundayThe Race07:0015:00

Support racing for this event includes Formula Challenge Japan and Porsche Carrera Cup.

The weather

We've had two real weather updates so far, and they started out with things being dry, and then a second opinion suggested that Saturday might see some crazy rain mixing things up. I have very little faith in any forecasts after the Singapore weekend - it was meant to rain every session, and barely rained in any session - so, as always, you must take this with a pinch of salt.

From the information we do have, it looks like Friday's running will mostly be dry, which will allow for some good data collection, but may not be as useful if qualifying on Saturday is damper than anticipated. The race on Sunday looks to be changeable.

cloudy

Suzuka, Friday

25℃

  • Low 19℃
  • Humidity 81%

Sunny intervals

rain

Suzuka, Saturday

20℃

  • Low 19℃
  • Humidity 90%

Heavy showers

showers

Suzuka, Sunday

25℃

  • Low 16℃
  • Humidity 81%

Occasional showers

The circuit

Circuit Data
NameSuzuka Circuit
LocationJapan
TimezoneGMT +0900
First Race1987
Total Grand Prix21
Laps53
Length5.807 km
Distance307.471 km
Start / Finish Offset0.300km

Fresh from the many-cornered Singapore street circuit, we're diving straight into the dedicated Suzuka track, with a more reasonable 17 turns. It will be a challenging setup for the drivers, as various resurfacing that has been completed previously leaves the grip levels varying at different corners. They'll also have to contend with the high-speed sections, flowing into some more fiddly S bends, meaning the cars have to be strong in all areas.

Traction and grip is the most important thing for the weekend, though, particularly if the weather is messing around. Bridgestone have been constantly fiddling with tyre allocations, and at this track, the soft and hard compounds will be in use.

With some difficult corners, watch for cars getting caught up in traffic - particularly in the race. Some of the slower teams have made a big noise about their distaste for blue flags, and both Lotus and Virgin bosses are pushing for them to be scrapped. I imagine the final few races will be scrutinised by those in charge to see if it's a system that is working, or one that could do with tweaking.

Circuit Records
RecordTimeDriverTeamYear
Pole Position1m 29.599sFelipe MassaFerrari2006
Fastest Lap1m 31.540sKimi RäikkönenMcLaren2005
Race Time1hr 23m 53.413sFernando AlonsoRenault2006

Circuit map

Suzuka Circuit Map
Suzuka Circuit MapCredit: Bridgestone Corporation

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayTime (Local)AttendeeRepresenting
Thursday15:00Lewis HamiltonMcLaren
Kamui KobayashiBMW Sauber
Michael SchumacherMercedes
Adrian SutilForce India
Sakon YamamotoHRT
Friday16:00Norbert HaugMercedes
Robert FernleyForce India
Adam ParrWilliams
Franz TostToro Rosso
Hiroshi YasukawaBridgestone
SaturdayPost qualifyingThree fastest drivers
SundayPost raceFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

Four stewards oversee a Formula 1 race weekend, two FIA stewards, together with one experienced former F1 driver and a steward representing the National Sporting Authority.

F1 Stewards
NamePositionRole
José AbedVice President of the FIA World Motor Sport CouncilFIA Steward
Paul GutjahrPresident of the FIA Hill Climb CommissionFIA Steward
N/AN/ARepresenting the National Sporting Authority
Alexander WurzWinner of the 12 Hours of Sebring 2010Former F1 Driver

Following live

A thread will be created on Sidepodcast.com for every session and every thread is live enabled, meaning you can follow along and contribute to the conversation without refreshing the page.

All content in the series Japan 2010