Japanese Grand Prix – Scuderia Ferrari team outlook – Cysnews

Japanese Grand Prix – Scuderia Ferrari team outlook – Cysnews
Japanese Grand Prix – Scuderia Ferrari team outlook – Cysnews

It’s time for the Japanese Grand Prix, one of the most popular events on the calendar for F1 enthusiasts and fans alike. Suzuka first appeared on the World Championship circuit nearly four decades ago and, along with two races at Fuji in the mid-1970s and again in 2007 and 2008, and two Pacific Grand Prix in the 1990s, the Land of the Rising Sun has played an important role in the history of the sport . Suzuka is special not only because of the beautiful figure-eight track, but also because of the electrifying atmosphere around the circuit, the stands full of local fans, young and old, who like to dress up in racing suits and often wear the most bizarre homemade caps that look like race cars, as they roam the track and even in the paddock.

Historic track

If the 18 corners that make up the Suzuka circuit could talk, they would tell the story of some of the most memorable moments in the history of the sport. So many world championships have been decided here, many of them in favor of Scuderia Ferrari. In 2000 came the “Red Dawn”, as the fans called it, when Michael Schumacher won the race and secured his first title in the red jersey, repeating his performance in Japan in 2003. In 1990, when Alain Prost was beaten by Ayrton Senna, and in 1998, when Schumacher was beaten by Mika Häkkinen, there were also moments of disappointment.

She is never boring

According to a survey of 6- to 12-year-olds in 2022, the Suzuka Circuit became the most famous track, along with Monza. At first glance it may seem quite straightforward, but it includes almost all types of challenges, a real test for both car and driver, and is therefore considered one of the most amazing tracks in the world. With 18 corners and only one DRS zone on the main straight, drivers must maintain absolute concentration throughout the lap, especially when it comes to setting a great qualifying time. The average speed per bike is around 230 km/h and there is very little room for error, especially in the first sector. It’s one of the most challenging sections of the track on the entire calendar, as going a split second off the track on the iconic back-and-forth sequence can not only cost you time, but also lead to you going off the track and into the barriers, which are generally quite close here. In the hairpin at turn 11, drivers often overtake and lunge on the inside in front of the car in front. If that doesn’t work, or if there’s a counter move at the next uphill right-hand corner, then it’s a case of slipstreaming the second car on the long descent to the legendary 130R before trying to overtake in the final chicane before the start line.

Weather and strategy

Heavy rain is not unknown at Suzuka and the weather often decides the outcome of the race. In 2022, it was very wet and the race went on forever, lasting over three hours and ending at dusk. The move from autumn to early spring could mean an increased risk of rain – the current forecast calls for a dry day on Thursday, followed by rain on all three days of track action. However, the track surface here usually provides excellent grip. Overtaking at Suzuka is not only difficult, but can also be quite risky, which is why in recent years most drivers have opted to start on soft tires to make the most of their extra grip in the first corners. This is why it is usually a two-pit track race, especially since tire degradation is quite high and trying to change tires just once is not always worthwhile, usually resulting in a driver falling down the order.


The Japanese Grand Prix starts on Friday 5 April with the first free practice at 11:30 local time (4:30 CEST), followed by the second practice at 3:00 p.m. (8:00 CEST). Saturday times are the same, with the final free practice at 11:30 local time (4:30 CEST) followed by qualifying at 3:00 p.m. (8:00 CEST). The Grand Prix will start on Sunday at 14:00 local time (7:00 CEST) and will be run over 53 laps with a total length of 307.471 kilometers.

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal:

“We head to Japan encouraged by our first and second place in Australia. This winning feeling only makes us work even harder to try to experience again as soon as possible. The Suzuka circuit is a particularly rigorous test for cars and drivers, which is why it is so popular with them. We believe we have a competitive package, but we know we have to do a perfect job to beat our opponents. As always in Japan and especially this year when it’s the first time we’re racing in Suzuka at the start of spring, the weather could play a role, but we’ve prepared for that possibility at the factory and we’re determined to be at the front.”


  • Participation in GP: 1077
  • Seasons in F1 75
  • Debut: Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi vv)
  • Wins: 244 (22.65%)
  • Pole position: 248 (23.03%)
  • Fastest laps: 261 (24.23%)
  • Podium positions: 811 (25.10%)


  • Participation in GP: 37
  • Debut : 1976 (C. Regazzoni 5th; N. Lauda vv)
  • Wins: 7 (18.92%)
  • Pole positions: 10 (27.03%)
  • Fastest laps: 7 (18.92%)
  • Podiums: 24 (21.62%)


Caallum Frith, Tire Performance Engineer

Suzuka is generally a demanding track, even on the tires. What are the main challenges that the track brings in this area?

Suzuka is a track with many high-speed corners, which means that tire energy is one of the highest of the season. For this reason, Pirelli brings the hardest compounds available in its range (C1, C2, C3), which are only required for the most demanding tracks. Additionally, the unusual layout of the figure eight means that all four tires are highly stressed, and car set-up and weather can have a strong effect on the final limit. Add to that the very abrasive asphalt and you end up with races with high tire degradation that often require multiple pit stops. Finally, the unpredictable weather makes Suzuka a tough tire test on all fronts!

It is clear from the first three races that the SF-24 is better at handling tires than the SF-23. How it was achieved?

I think the clear goal for the team was to improve performance during the races, so this issue was tackled from several angles. From a car development point of view, we have focused more on providing a consistent platform for the drivers: this means we have a more predictable car that makes it easier for drivers not to overload the tires in different racing scenarios, such as driving in traffic, dealing with changing winds or losing maximum tire grip later in the stint. On track, we also worked closely with the drivers to create a plan for each race that defined how and where we needed to look after the tires to reach the race finish in the fastest possible time, based on the strategy and specific requirements of each circuit. We can then monitor this in real time during the race and provide feedback to the riders over the radio if necessary.

Let’s talk about you: how did you get into Ferrari? Where does your passion for motorsport come from?

My passion for motorsport started at a young age, always watching F1 on TV and going to the races at the local Donington Park track. When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to gain work experience with the Williams F1 team, which inspired me to believe that a career in engineering and motorsport was a real possibility. I joined Ferrari through the Ferrari F1 engineering academy (the team’s graduate program) right after finishing university, after meeting the team at Formula Student. From there I gradually gained experience in the tire group, watching races from a remote garage and providing test support before progressing to the race team where I am today.


Callum Frith

Nationality: British

Born on 29/11/1992 in Shropshire (Great Britain)

Japanese Grand Prix: Facts and figures


Number of Japanese Formula 1 Grands Prix held in April. Of the 37 editions so far, 31 were held in October, three in September and three in November. However, in April the land of the rising sun hosted a world championship race when the 1994 Pacfic Grand Prix was held at the remote and small Aida track, now known as Okayama. Michael Schumacher won with a Benetton car.


Various configurations of the Suzuka circuit. In addition to the 5.807 km circuit used for the Grand Prix, there is also a 3.466 km West Circuit and a 2.243 km East Circuit. The latter two are commonly used for national and GT races.


Different types of sushi, which is widely considered to be the most famous Japanese food. Let’s start with sashimi, where the fish is cut into long rectangular slices known as hira-zukuri and served raw, with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. Then there is nigiri, an oval of vinegared rice on which a piece of fish or a whole small fish or seafood is placed. Chirashi means “scattered”, a bowl of rice with raw fish and vegetables and even fruit. The famous maki is sushi that is wrapped in nori seaweed and then cut into small pieces so that the rice roll has its main ingredient in its center. It doesn’t have to be fish: fruit and vegetable maki are not uncommon. Uramaki is quite similar to maki, except that the rice is placed on the outside of the nori instead of inside. And finally, there are temaki, which are larger and cone-shaped, filled again with rice and fish, accompanied by vegetables.


The varieties of cherry trees (Sakura) found in Japan, the vast majority of which bloom in April, transform strips of landscape into a fabulous sea of ​​colors. The most common variety is Somei Yoshino with almost pure white flowers with pink highlights at the stem. They usually bloom and fade in a week before the leaves appear, leaving the trees briefly looking completely white from top to bottom. It is named after the village of Somei in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward. Winter sakura, known as fuyuzakura, begin blooming in the fall and then sporadically through the winter. Other varieties include yaezakura, which has large, bushy flowers with deep pink petals, and shidarezakura, whose branches droop like those of a weeping willow to create beautiful cascades of pink blossoms.


Population of Suzuka, the third largest city in Mie Prefecture, in the Kansai region of Honshu Island. The city is mainly industrial. The two larger cities in terms of population are Yokkaichi, the main commercial center with 306,000 inhabitants, and Tsu, the capital and seat of local governments, with 279,000 inhabitants.

Source: Scuderia Ferrari

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