Suzuka Track Analysis: challenging setup in roller coaster of Formula 1 | 2023 Japanese GP

Formula 1 is moving from Singapore to the Land of the Rising Sun for the next event in the 2023 season. The technical Suzuka circuit has always been a favorite for drivers due to its unique layout and breathtaking corners. The choice of setups will be crucial to find the right balance in the three sectors. The first sector is rich in high-speed corners that require downforce, while the second and third sectors are more flowing. Let’s take a look at the track analysis of Suzuka, highlighting the curves and challenges that make the Japanese Grand Prix spectacular.

There are 18 corners on the circuit, with 10 of them being right-handers. One of Suzuka’s characteristics is the snake section in the first sector, from turn 3 to 7. At Suzuka, the DRS activation point is only on the main straight. Unlike Singapore, the Japanese circuit is one of the least demanding for Brembo braking systems, with only three braking points above 4 Gs of deceleration.

Sector 1

The lap at Suzuka begins on the main straight leading to the first downhill turn, taken in two parts. The first part is much wider and is tackled at around 290 km/h, while for the second part, the brakes are applied, leading to turn 2, which is part of the snake section. In this section, the elevation of the track also changes, with a strong compression on the cars. As mentioned earlier, the snake section is one of the most beautiful parts of the championship, consisting of a sequence of 5 curves alternating right-left. To be competitive on this section, a car capable of transferring lateral load and with precise front-end control is crucial. After exiting the snake, you approach turn 7, a long left-hander that marks the end of the first sector.

Sector 2

The second part of the track starts with one of the most photographed corners in the championship, turn 8. In this corner, high lateral G-forces are reached, often causing cars to be compressed and create sparks. Immediately after, there is heavy braking for turn 9, generating 4.4 Gs of deceleration. In this section, it’s crucial to have a well-balanced car between the front and rear axles to handle these corners effectively. After exiting turn 9, traction is required to exit quickly and reach the hook in turn 10, a wide left-hander where understeer must be avoided. Even when exiting this hook, traction is crucial to navigate the wide right-hander quickly and reach the “Spoon” as soon as possible. The Spoon curve has two apex points and is therefore taken in two parts. After exiting turn 14, you enter the longest straight on the circuit, marking the end of the second sector.

Sector 3

The final part of the Suzuka circuit features fewer corners than the first two sectors, but they are still highly technical. The first corner to tackle is the famous 130R, a wide left-hander of almost 90 degrees that drivers take almost flat out. After negotiating this corner with minimal steering input, you quickly reach the chicane 16-17, where finding the best braking point is crucial. Here, deceleration forces of almost 5 Gs are reached, reducing speed from over 300 km/h to around 90 km/h. After this right-left sequence, you accelerate toward turn 18, a wide right-hander that also marks the end of the lap.

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