Viewing entries tagged

Race Review: Japanese Grand Prix

 Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi takes his first podium at the Suzuka Circuit (Sauber Motorsport AG)

Quick, blink your eyes. Now, blink again. That's essentially how fast the fortunes have changed in favor for Vettel since Belgian GP. Other than the untimely retirement at Italian GP, Vettel has been superbly fast in his Red Bull, so fast that Vettel is now 4 points behind Alonso after the Japanese GP. Alonso should be plenty weary as he watches his massive points lead fade away.

Race Preview: Japanese GP

Michael Schumacher takes the Mercedes GP car out for Friday Practice at Suzuka (©

// Japan

It's the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, but before we dive into the race preview, let's spare a minute to talk about the latest shakeup in driver movements. As an F1 fan, you may know by now that Hamilton has made the final decision to depart McLaren and join the arms (or is it arrows?) of Mercedes for a three-year contract beginning in 2013. Hamilton has been groomed by McLaren for the last 13 years, one imagines that a decision like this is made with mixed emotions. In the case of Schumacher, to be essentially kicked out of Mercedes, just seems unfortunate for a 7-time WDC.

While McLaren uses Mercedes engines, McLaren has a noticeably faster car than Mercedes and has won more races this season than the factory team. Is this a wise decision from Hamilton and his management team? Can Hamilton shine at Mercedes? More importantly for this weekend's race, will the dynamic of the team change and therefore the performance of Hamilton suffer as a result in Suzuka?

The Championship title is still an open race at the moment, even with Alonso consistently leading with championship points, the 2nd and 3rd drivers on the leaderboard continue to shift between the top drivers. In terms of the track, it so happens that this year is the 50th anniversary of the famous Suzuka circuit. This classic figure-8 format has a great history of races, most notably the controversial drama between Ayrton Senna and Alan Prost in 1989 and 1990, which lead to Prost taking championship title in 1989 and Senna taking championship title in 1990.

With an abundance of low, medium and high speed turns, the track is quite demanding on the tyres for the duration of the this 53-lap race. Pirelli will be supplying this weekend's rubber with Hard and Soft tyres to help the cars conquer the terrains of this circuit. If the teams manage their tyres well, it may even be possible to do get away with one stop!

Even though Schumacher has won six times at this track and will retire and the end of the season, he hasn't really be able to break through this year except for one podium appearance. The fight may well be between Alonso and Vettel, who both have won twice at the track already. Button, Hamilton, Raikkonen all have won previously here as well, and will be brining the fight to Vettel and Alsonso to do their part to change up the championship scoreboard.

Have you made your predictions for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix? Will you be enjoying the race with sushi and sake?

As we await qualifying to begin later tonight, enjoy this Japanese GP Race Guide video, featuring Jenson Button of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, presented by Hilton HHonors.

Every Little Boy's Scalextric: Japanese Grand Prix

Suzuka Circuit, 2011 (image courtesy of Mercedes GP)

Tradition has it that Japan was always the last country visited on the annual Formula One calendar and it was invariably a Championship ‘decider’…that was until a raft of new circuits and new markets for the premier racing series opened up. Of course, in motor racing terms, Japan is still fairly ‘youthful’, having held its first GP as recently as 1976. Fuji Speedway (owned by Toyota) was the initial venue but Suzuka Circuit (owned by Honda) has superseded it, a factor that would have pleased the late, great Soichiro Honda no end.

Vintage by Definition

The summer holidays are upon us and the Grand Prix circus is taking its customary mid-season vacation before recommencing racing duties in late-August, at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. Iain Robertson perceives this as a chance to review what has been and what is to come, from what he calls a ‘vintage year’ in the F1 scene.

Another Sunday Funday at Six Lounge

It figures. We go boasting about how construction at Circuit of the Americas is soooo ahead of schedule because of our drought, and then BAM! Rain, rain, rain. Some speculate that it is a result of the University of Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma University Sooners football game. Moving on...

Jenson Button and his Mini-Me!

Our fans still braved the rain and joined us once again at Six Lounge where we had more seating, more food and better audio setup to enjoy the Japanese Grand Prix.

And enjoy the race, we did! WOW, Suzuka, you did not disappoint! Congratulations to Jenson Button! We bet these F1 plush dolls are worth a pretty penny now! Check out Jenson's mini-me below:

And, we had a little fun with Sebastian Vettel's double World Championship win which was secured at Suzuka. Have you seen the viral Double Rainbow YouTube video? I have heard the term used over the past year, but didn't realize there was a video to match. I finally watched it last week and couldn't stop laughing.

Video Update: Construction Ramping Up

There have been some concerns lately about work at the circuit "slowing down" - we understand this to have been a timing issue. The groundwork progressed amazingly quickly because of the lack of rain during the Texas summer, so they were able to exceed normal construction deadlines & speed up the timeline. We've been told vertical construction would start in October, and our friends at Friends of Circuit of the Americas updated us on Tuesday, confirming new equipment arrived at the circuit.

We decided to head out to the circuit on this lovely Texas October afternoon (albeit still HOT!) and share it with you.