Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Suzuka: On the Pit Wall and stats

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Suzuka: On the Pit Wall and stats

29.09.2014: Back to a 'Normal' Circuit Since we were at Hockenheim in July, each of the circuits on





Back to a 'Normal' Circuit
 

Since we were at Hockenheim in July, each of the circuits on the calendar has brought extremes in terms of their characteristics - be that in one direction or the other. Both the Hungaroring and the Marina Bay Street Circuit are tight, twisting tracks with low power sensitivity and precious few overtaking opportunities.


Then, there has been Spa and Monza - the polar opposite with their long straights, high power sensitivity and high demands on the Power Units. Suzuka, however, is more what might be termed a 'normal' circuit - with a good mix of low, medium and high-speed corners coupled with a fairly average lap length.
 


Track Conditions

 
The circuit is used fairly regularly throughout the year by a variety of different motorsport categories, placing track evolution around the middle of the scale at around two seconds per lap between Friday practice and qualifying.
 


Venue Peculiarities
 

Japan is one of the toughest locations of the season for the teams in terms of the offset hours, which are tricky to get to grips with. For those working back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth in particular, effectively adjusting to a night shift for the week inevitably puts a strain on the body.


Suzuka itself is the only circuit on the calendar to run in a figure-of-eight configuration, with the run between Turns 14-15 crossing over that of Turns 9-10. The distribution between left (8) and right (10) turns around the track is well-balanced, leading to relatively equal tyre wear on each side of the car.


There are also a lot of elevation changes - the most significant of which begins on the run out of Turn 1 and continues all the way up through the 'S' curves towards the Dunlop Curve at Turn 7.
 


Climate
 

Suzuka regularly sees significant shifts in weather patterns - not necessarily across a race weekend, but certainly from year to year. While ambient temperatures tend to remain between 23-25 degrees, track temperatures have historically varied from 25-38 degrees.


This is due to the ever-changing cloud cover above the circuit. Rain is not uncommon, with the muggy conditions regularly leading to quite intense thunderstorms overnight and often into the following day. When it rains in Suzuka, it really rains - demonstrated by the infamous pit lane boat races, as last seen in 2010.
 


Tyres

 
Suzuka sits towards the upper end of the scale in terms of tyre energy. There is a lot of high-speed content around the lap, starting with the 'S' curves - which stand as one of the most historic sequences of corners in the world, similar in style to Eau Rouge. Each corner builds on the other through here, putting a lot of energy through the tyres.


 As per 2013, it is for this reason that the hard and medium compounds are nominated for this race. These compounds have proven to be very predictable this season and, as such, a similar trend in pit stops can be expected. In 2013, a mixture of two and three stop strategies came into play, with the majority of the front-runners opting for the former.
 

Overtaking


 
Conversely to the last race in Singapore, Suzuka presents a number of good passing opportunities. The most popular locations tend to be the first corner and then under braking into the final chicane. Although overtaking is possible, it is far from simple - often forcing the drivers to produce some spectacular manoeuvres.


Watching two cars run side by side through the opening bend, or lining up a move out of130R and into the final chicane, is highly entertaining to watch.
 


Safety Cars
 

On the surface, the Suzuka circuit would not seem to lend itself to a high Safety Car probability. However, only the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix has not featured the Safety Car since the race returned to the circuit in 2009. As one of the 'old school' circuits on the calendar, run-off areas largely consist of grass, gravel and tyre walls.


Coupled with the high-speed track layout, this generally means that any accident which does occur will frequently result in the race being neutralised. The tight first corner is another contributing factor, with contact between cars a regular occurrence on the first lap in particular.
 
 

Anniversaries
 

Mercedes-Benz Heritage
 


1-2 October 1994 - 20 Years Ago:


At truck racing's season finale, which traditionally takes place in Jarama, Spain, Slim Borgudd in a Mercedes-Benz 1834 S wins both Super Race Truck runs. With second and fourth-place finishes, Steve Parrish captures his fourth European championship - the first in the Super Race Truck category under the new rules. Slim Borgudd is runner-up, and the manufacturers' crown again goes to Mercedes-Benz.
 

3 October 2004 - 10 Years Ago:


Bernd Schneider wins the DTM season finale in Hockenheim ahead of Martin Tomczyk in an Audi. Schneider's brand colleague Gary Paffett, also competing in an AMG-Mercedes C-Class, takes third place and is runner-up overall behind champion Mattias Ekström in an Audi.
 


4-14 October 1934 - 80 Years Ago:


The most exclusive and most elegant variant of the Mercedes-Benz 500 K, the Special Roadster, makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show.
 


6-16 October 1994 - 20 Years Ago:


Mercedes-Benz presents a further developed version of the near-series SLK roadster study, now featuring a vario roof, at the Paris Motor Show. The innovative folding roof disappears into the boot within 25 seconds at the push of a button, leaving enough space there for luggage.
 



On-Track
 


27 September 2009 - Five Years Ago


Lewis Hamilton takes the 25th podium finish of his Formula One Career at the Singapore Grand Prix
 


28 September 2008 - Six Years Ago


Nico Rosberg makes his 50th Formula One Grand Prix start at the Singapore Grand Prix
 


1996 Japanese Grand Prix - 18 Years Ago:


Mika Häkkinen takes the 25th podium finish for Mercedes-Benz power in Formula One
 


2003 Japanese Grand Prix - 11 Years Ago


David Coulthard takes the 125th podium finish for Mercedes-Benz power in Formula One
 


2007 Japanese Grand Prix - Seven Years Ago:


Lewis Hamilton takes the fifth pole position - and tenth front row start - of his Formula One Career
 


2009 Japanese Grand Prix - Five Years Ago


Lewis Hamilton makes his 50th Formula One Grand Prix start
 

 
Nicola Armstrong ,Bradley Lord ,Wolfgang Schattling     - photo Mercedes

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29.09.2014 / MaP

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