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Japan 2012 - Race information // Everything you need to know about the Japanese Grand Prix

Published by Christine

Thoughts of racing have been overshadowed a little in the past week, with the 2013 driver market finally kicking into life. Lewis Hamilton has been dominating headlines again, whilst there is endless speculation about who could get the now-spare Sauber seat. Meanwhile, there are still six races to come to finish the season, and only eight weeks to complete them in. We'd better get going!

Event schedule

There's no let up in Fernando Alonso's grip on the championship, but there are a few drivers that can still catch him, if they really put their minds to it. Whilst there may be some awkward relationships at a couple of the teams - Mercedes, McLaren and Sauber springing to mind - there will also be motivation towards the rear of the grid. The battle to finish tenth in the championship took a surprising turn in Singapore with Marussia finishing ahead of Caterham with a well-earned 12th place. What might Suzuka hold in store?

Session Timetable
DateDaySessionGMT +0100Local
5 OctFridayFree Practice 102:0010:00
Free Practice 206:0014:00
6 OctSaturdayFree Practice 303:0011:00
Qualifying06:0014:00
7 OctSundayGrand Prix07:0015:00

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

The weather

Japan has been known to deliver up some rainy days, but the weather forecast for the coming weekend looks good. Friday and Sunday appear to have the most of the sunshine, with qualifying day featuring a little more in the way of clouds. And where there are clouds, there is unpredictability.

clear

Suzuka, Friday

26℃

  • Low 17℃
  • Humidity 59%

Mostly clear

moderate

Suzuka, Saturday

24℃

  • Low 16℃
  • Humidity 64%

Morning clouds

clear

Suzuka, Sunday

25℃

  • Low 15℃
  • Humidity 63%

Sunny skies

Circuit map

Sidepodcast image
DRS Zones
DRS detection50m before Turn 16
DRS activationAfter Turn 18

The FIA have decided to tweak the DRS zones just slightly, shortening it by 20 metres. The activation point sits around the final corner of Turn 18, with the entire home straight for drivers to make the most of their opportunity to move forward.

The introduction of DRS in 2011 provided a huge increase in overtaking moves but some still remain unconvinced by the technology. In 2010, reports have the number of overtakes as seven, whilst the following season placed it at 59.

The circuit

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

Japan remains a popular event on the Formula One calendar, despite the chopping and changing between Fuji and Suzuka. The latter has hosted F1 for the last few years, however, and looks set to continue for the forseeable future. The track is just about a figure of eight, albeit a squashed one, and it produces some unique challenges.

The technical side of things ramps up with a mixture of corners both fast and slow, plus the terrifying 130R, so that getting balance right for a one lap special, as well as setting up for the fuel-heavy race will be top of everyone's priorities.

The circuit has had significant resurfacing, particularly to the west side, and there has been new drainage installed to keep water away from the fresh tarmac.

2011 Results
SessionDriverTeamTimeLinks
Free Practice 1Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:33.634Live / Results
Free Practice 2Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:31.901Live / Results
Free Practice 3Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:31.255Live / Results
QualifyingSebastian VettelRed Bull1:30.466Live / Results
Grand PrixJenson ButtonMcLaren1:30:53.427Live / Results
Fastest LapJenson ButtonMcLaren1:36.568

Tyre compounds

Hard and soft compounds
Hard and soft compounds

Pirelli have changed strategies from this time last year, where they brought the hard and medium compounds. For 2012, they've moved a further step apart, with the hard tyre as the prime compound and the soft tyre as the option. Not only have they gone for the soft tyre, but the tyres are, as a rule, softer than 2011 anyway, so we could see something new in Japan.

It’s the layout of the track that delivers the technical challenge: Suzuka is a classic drivers’ circuit, a bit like Spa or Monza, with some of the most awesome corners that we see all year and very little margin for error.

- Paul Hembery

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
DayLocalAttendeeRepresenting
Thursday15:00Jenson ButtonMcLaren
Paul di RestaForce India
Lewis HamiltonMcLaren
Kamui KobayashiSauber
Felipe MassaFerrari
Sergio PérezSauber
Friday16:00John BoothMarussia
Ross BrawnMercedes
Stefano DomenicaliFerrari
Monisha KaltenbornSauber
Kim SpearmanCosworth
Martin WhitmarshMcLaren
SaturdayPost qualifyingThree fastest drivers
SundayPost raceFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process was changed last year to include a former F1 driver to give added insight. These are the stewards overseeing this weekend's action.

F1 Stewards
NamePosition
Lars ÖsterlindFIA World Council Member
Vincenzo SpanoPresident of the Sporting Commission of the Automobile and Touring Club in Venezuela
Derek WarwickFormer Formula One driver and World Sportscar Champion

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