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Race information - Japan 2014 // Formula One expects rain as the championship heads to Suzuka

Published by Christine

After the long, hot, and difficult challenge of night racing in Singapore, Japan's event at Suzuka presents something of a breath of fresh air. We have a new championship leader, we have just a handful of races to go to the end of the season, and there's still everything to play for. Japan is notorious for providing good racing, but there's also plenty of expectation about the weather. The fifteenth round of the season is ready to roll!

Event schedule

With Lewis Hamilton taking the lead in the driver standings, and Nico Rosberg retiring from the last race, it seems as though the momentum has taken a swing in the opposite direction at Mercedes. Seeing what the next twist in this season-long teammate-tussling tale will be is part of the huge fascination that Suzuka holds. It's not all though. Ferrari showed a little extra pace in Singapore, and will hope to keep up that performance for another weekend.

Jenson Button counts Japan as something of a home race, given his affiliations with the country, but he's not having the best season, or the best luck of late either. We've also got drivers hustling to keep themselves in the sport, including Jean-Éric Vergne, Nico Hülkenberg and Button himself. The pressure is starting to tell just as drivers need to be at their best. Brilliant!

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
03 OctFridayFree Practice 102:00
GMT +01:00
10:00
GMT +09:00
Free Practice 206:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +09:00
04 OctSaturdayFree Practice 303:00
GMT +01:00
11:00
GMT +09:00
Qualifying06:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +09:00
05 OctSundayGrand Prix07:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +09:00

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

Expected conditions

You can't really race in Japan without glancing at the skies on occasion, but there is forecast to be some sunshine as the weekend unfolds. Rain is predicted for Friday practice, and at some point on Sunday, but whether it will affect the action or not remains to be seen. Suzuka doesn't quite have the inclement climate of Fuji but could still have some weather patterns determined to spice up the action.

Potential for light showers in parts

Suzuka, Friday

27℃

  • Low 16℃
  • Humidity 85%

Potential for light showers in parts

Clear with periodic clouds

Suzuka, Saturday

25℃

  • Low 16℃
  • Humidity 85%

Clear with periodic clouds

A chance of afternoon rain

Suzuka, Sunday

24℃

  • Low 16℃
  • Humidity 85%

A chance of afternoon rain

Track information

Suzuka Circuit circuit map
DRS zones
DRS detection 150m before turn 16
DRS activation 1100m before the control line

Suzuka boasts a uniquely recognisable track in F1. The unusual shape features a figure-of-eight in the middle, with a bridge carrying the track straight over the top of another section of the circuit. The difficult corners - Spoon Curve and 130R - rank highly on driver favourites, and the first sector maximises the challenge of precision and driver skill.

Balancing the car is all about getting the first sector right, as laps, races and championships can all be lost there. The lap begins with a long drag race down to the first corner, a fast right hander that leads straight into another, then leading onto the S Curves. Getting a good rhythm and a good exit for every corner is crucial to propel cars on to the speedier second and third sectors.

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitSuzuka Circuit
LocationSuzuka
CountryJapan
TimezoneGMT +09:00
Race debut1987
Laps53
Length5.807 km
Distance307.471 km
Line offset0.300 km

The Japanese Grand Prix has appeared on the calendar 29 times, with all but four of them taking place at Suzuka. Fuji is the alternate destination, nestled under the mountain of the same name. There was talk of the tracks taking turns hosting the F1 race, but it didn't really come to fruition.

A front row grid slot can be crucial to getting a good result, with 21 of the last 25 winners coming from pole position or second place. Japan has played host to the championship deciding race on a couple of occasions, but that won't be the case this season, as the battle at the top continues to be close.

McLaren have the most victories overall in Japan, with nine in total, but it's Red Bull who have dominated lately. Of the last five races at Suzuka, they have won four of them, all Sebastian Vettel. The other victory was for Jenson Button in 2011.

Results for the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:35.461
Free Practice 2Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:35.078
Free Practice 3Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:33.228
QualifyingNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:32.506
Grand PrixLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:51:43.021
Fastest lapLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:51.600

Tyre compounds

Japanese Grand Prix tyre selection
Hard and medium compounds

This weekend, Pirelli are bringing the two hardest compounds to Japan, with the hard and mediums in action. This is the first time they've been together since Monza, with the fast flowing elements of both tracks requiring the same reaction from the rubber. Pirelli also compare Suzuka with Spa, as "another well-known driver's circuit with flowing corners but even higher lateral energy demands."

Suzuka is a real drivers’ circuit, and because of that it is a considerable challenge for the tyres, with some of the biggest lateral energy loads of the year. As a result, it would probably be realistic to look at between two to three pit stops, with tyre management forming a key part of the race.

- 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
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayJules BianchiMarussia F1 Team
Jenson ButtonMcLaren Mercedes
Romain GrosjeanLotus F1 Team
Nico HülkenbergSahara Force India F1 Team
Kamui KobayashiCaterham F1 Team
Sebastian VettelInfiniti Red Bull Racing
FridayYasuhisa AraiHonda Motor Co. Ltd
Andy CowellMercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains
Pat FryScuderia Ferrari
Paul MonaghanInfiniti Red Bull Racing
Jonathan NealeMcLaren Mercedes
Rémi TaffinRenault Sport Technologies
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
NamePosition
José AbedFIA Vice President, founder and president of the Mexican Organisation of International Motorsport.
Paul GutjahrPresident of the FIA Hill Climb Commission, board member and President of Auto Sport Suisse SARL
Mika SaloFormer Formula One driver, ALMS GT Champion and double Le Mans GT2 class winner.

All content in the series Japan 2014