The Key Strategic Moment of the 2015 FORMULA 1 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX was the start, which threw all the team strategists off. Pole sitter Nico Rosberg lost out to Lewis Hamilton and others, dropping back to fourth. Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo also touched on the run to turn one, leaving both with punctures and no chance of upsetting the top 3 drivers. This start may not only have decided the race but also the Championship.
Doing well in Japan is all about cool heads and good race strategy. Tyre degradation is high at Suzuka so Pirelli has brought the medium and hard tyres. Using these well is crucial to a team‘s success. A classic two stop strategy involves pitting for the first time around lap 14 and then a second time around lap 35, with an opening stint on medium then two equal stints on the hards. However, there is a pace benefit to teams that can make it with two of the three stints on medium tyres. Look out for these two approaches. In Suzuka there will once again be plenty of attention on the new mandatory tyre pressures from Pirelli, as this is a circuit like Spa, where the cornering loads are significant.
In collaboration with James Allen
Regarded as one of the best drivers circuits in the world, Suzuka first hosted a Grand Prix in 1987 and the iconic figure-of-eight circuit presents the drivers and engineers with a real challenge; a series of fast sweeping corners with few braking zones. Like Barcelona, it is a track where a good well balanced car really stands out. It is often a dramatic race and the chances of a safety car are relatively high at 60%. Among many highlights here over the years are the duels between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in 1989 and 1990, where the pair collided to decide the outcome of both year’s championships. Kimi Raikkonen’s victory in 2005, starting from 17th place on the grid, is another classic, with his last lap pass on Giancarlo Fisichella. Sebastian Vettel has won this race four times, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button both victorious here in the last decade.
Circuit length 5.807 km
Race distance 307.471 km
2014 winner Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)