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Race information - Japan 2013 - Everything you need to know about the Japanese Grand Prix

Published by Christine

Back to back racing is in fashion for the final half of the season, and if it were any other race than Suzuka, I might be a bit grumpy. But the circuit is brilliant, and the drivers love it, so the atmosphere should be positive, happy and excited going into this weekend's racing action. The championship is up for grabs, which means endless permutations about what could happen when, but before that, here's what you need to know.

Event schedule

Sebastian Vettel's win in Korea puts him in a position to take the title this weekend. He needs the victory, which isn't out of the question, but he needs Fernando Alonso to finish lower than eighth, which is slightly less likely. It all could come together for Vettel but even if it doesn't, it should still be a fascinating weekend.

Sauber have the momentum from a seriously good performance by Nico Hülkenberg, whilst Lotus will want to repeat their double podium from last weekend. At the other end of the scale, both Toro Rosso and Force India failed to see the chequered flag in Korea, so they'll be keen to get a finish under their belts in Japan. McLaren's Jenson Button counts this event as something of a home race, given his passion for the country so the local fans will have someone to cheer on despite no Japanese driver in F1 this year.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
11 OctFridayFree Practice 102:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00
Free Practice 206:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00
12 OctSaturdayFree Practice 303:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00
13 OctSundayGrand Prix07:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00

Support racing for this event includes Porsche Carrera Cup Japan and Super FJ.

The weather

Long range forecasts continue to show rain on Friday that should clear up into the weekend. The typhoon that had been hovering near the Korean International Circuit was said to be on the move towards Suzuka, but although rain isn't an unusual sight in Japan, we're not expecting conditions to be too bad.


Suzuka, Friday


  • Low 16℃
  • Humidity 72%

Cloudy with brief rain


Suzuka, Saturday


  • Low 13℃
  • Humidity 61%

Cloudy but clear later


Suzuka, Sunday


  • Low 13℃
  • Humidity 52%

Clear with periodic clouds

Circuit map

Sidepodcast image
DRS Zones
DRS detection 150m before Turn 16
DRS activation 1100m before the control line

The FIA are continuing with just one DRS zone at Suzuka, and it's in the same place as last year. The rather bendy Suzuka circuit doesn't lend itself naturally to DRS, with just the two short straights splitting the many, many curves. This is only the second time we've only had one DRS zone this season, but the FIA have still been tweaking.

Last year, they shortened the DRS zone in an attempt to improve overtaking, but this year they have lengthened it straight back again.

The circuit

Circuit information
CircuitSuzuka Circuit
TimezoneGMT +09:00
Race debut1987
Length5.807 km
Distance307.471 km
Line offset0.300 km

Suzuka is instantly recognisable for its figure-of-eight layout, as the drivers cross over the top of the track halfway round. There are also a couple of super-famous corners, such as the 130R and Spoon Curve, but all of it is a significant challenge. The first sector requires supreme concentration, is very difficult to get right, and can punish drivers that get it wrong. The second sector features some tricky turns including a tight and very slow hairpin, leading into the third, final and much faster sector.

The weather can sometimes present an obstacle, but conditions are usually average, with the air temperature settling in the mid 20 degrees C. The fans at Suzuka are passionate about their sport, and with the history at the track, the drivers enjoy returning to Japan year after year.

Originally built as a test track for the Honda car manufacturer, the circuit has gradually become a destination for a real weekend’s enjoyment. Nestling against the tarmac is a theme park with big wheel that provides a stunning backdrop and some fantastic photographic opportunities.

2012 Results
Free Practice 1Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:34.507Full results
Free Practice 2Mark WebberRed Bull1:32.493Full results
Free Practice 3Sebastian VettelRed Bull1:32.136Full results
QualifyingSebastian VettelRed Bull1:30.839Full results
Grand PrixSebastian VettelRed Bull1:28:56.242Full results
Fastest LapSebastian VettelRed Bull1:35.774

Tyre compounds

Japanese Grand Prix tyre selection
Hard and medium compounds

The orange and white sidewalls will make an appearance this weekend, as Pirelli bring the two hardest compounds to Suzuka, the hard and medium compounds respectively. We may also see the green intermediate tyres in action if any of the forecast rain materialises, but otherwise it will be down to the two slick choices to last the distance - and hopefully avoid any disasters such as we saw in Korea.

Suzuka is one of the circuits where we experience the highest rates of wear and degradation all year: because of the relatively abrasive surface and most of all because of the high-energy loadings that are going through the tyres... It’s a high-demand circuit when it comes to lateral energy but relatively low-demand in terms of traction, because the layout is very flowing with one corner sequencing into another.

- 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
Thursday15:00Jenson ButtonMcLaren
Nico HülkenbergSauber
Pastor MaldonadoWilliams
Charles PicCaterham
Jean-Éric VergneToro Rosso
Sebastian VettelRed Bull
Friday16:00Pat FryFerrari
Dave GreenwoodMarussia
James KeyToro Rosso
Tom McCulloughSauber
Paul MonaghanRed Bull
Jonathan NealeMcLaren
SaturdayPost qualifyingThree fastest drivers
SundayPost raceFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

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

FIA stewards
José AbedFIA Vice President, founder and president of the Mexican Organisation of International Motorsport.
Garry ConnellyDeputy President of the FIA Institute, Director of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety, F1 and WTCC Steward, and FIA World Motorsport Council Member.
Emanuele PirroF1 driver 1989-1991 for Benetton and Scuderia Italia, McLaren test driver and five-time Le Mans winner with Audi.

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