2023 Japanese Grand Prix – Preview

2023 Japanese Grand Prix – Preview

Toto Talks Japan
It was a thrilling Sunday night in Singapore.
Although the result wasn’t quite what we were hoping for, there are plenty of positives we can take away.
We were bold and aggressive with our strategy calls.
The pace of the car all weekend was strong. We executed well as a team and gave it a real shot for victory as the racers we are.
It was a great drive to the podium from Lewis.
He showed impressive pace throughout the race, especially the final stint.
P3 was a deserved reward for his efforts.
For George, he’d performed faultlessly all weekend.
He was giving it absolutely everything in the search for victory.
That’s absolutely what we want to see. It was a small mistake on the final lap and that will make it even more painful for him.
I know he will bounce back strongly.
We have another race in just a few days’ time.
Japan is always a unique event with very passionate fans.
The track is incredibly challenging, and the drivers love racing on it.
The margins were so close in Singapore, so we’ll be aiming for another competitive showing in Suzuka.
We lost some ground in the Constructors’ Championship to Ferrari at the last race.
We are looking forwards not back, though.
Our focus is on maximising the package we have and scoring as many points as possible.
If we do so, I’m confident we can extend our advantage.

Fact File: Japanese Grand Prix
Suzuka holds the distinction of being the only circuit we race at that is laid out in a figure-of-eight configuration.
After the Degner Curves, the circuit passes under the straight leading to 130R.
Owing to this, it’s the only F1 track that runs both clockwise and anticlockwise.
This figure-of-eight layout is beneficial for tyre wear.
It creates a more even balance between left and right-hand corners (10 being right-handers and eight to the left), distributing load more equally between tyres.
The first corner doesn’t require any braking on entry.
In Qualifying, drivers don’t hit the brakes until the car is cornering at close to 5G.
That helps to generate some of the highest steering wheel torques of the entire season.
The vast majority of the first sector at Suzuka is spent cornering.
From Turn 1 until the exit of Turn 7, the steering wheel is moving almost continuously for nearly 2km of the lap.
Just 1.2 km of the lap is spent driving in a straight line.
Most of the 5.807 kms sees some lateral g-force going through the car.
The lack of straights also means that Suzuka is just one of four circuits on the calendar that has a solitary DRS zone.
130R is one of F1’s quickest corners, taken at 295 km/h. Turn 11 meanwhile is one of the slowest at 60 km/h.
The braking zone for Turn 11 is particularly challenging.
Drivers must hit the brakes midway through the fast Turn 10.
They are cornering at close to 3.5G while turning right before the hairpin left.
Lockups are therefore common.
In contrast to Singapore, brakes have a slightly easier time at Suzuka.
There are only two heavy braking events on the track.
Brake duty and wear are therefore among the lowest we see across the year.
Suzuka has one of the highest mass sensitivities of the season.
That means that carrying more fuel is more penalising in terms of lap time and performance.

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

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