The Return to Suzuka

The Return to Suzuka image

Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted October 07, 2010 22:59

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

This year's Japanese Grand Prix goes back to the Suzuka circuit, which has always been a firm favorite with the drivers.

Its fast sweeping corners with very little run-off makes it a circuit that rewards the brave and committed. It also has a good amount of medium speed corners, which should play into the hands of Red Bull.

In this way Suzuka is more like Barcelona and Silverstone which were tracks we saw the Red Bulls dominate at, although there is some debate if they will see the same kind of advantage here that we saw earlier in the year.

Part of this is that the FIA have clamped down on flexible floors and wings which many believe to be the source of Red Bulls dominance. Also Ferrari has made big strides forward and with back to back wins at the last two races, they should be very close to the Bulls.

The big question mark now, is McLaren. Hamilton has had two non-finishes in the last two races and with Button 25 points off Mark Webber in the championship lead, McLaren could be looking at the championship slipping away if they don't get some good points here.

What McLaren do have are a lot of updates, such as new diffuser, rear wing, and floor which should hopefully allow them to catch up to Red Bull and Ferrari. How successful they will be, nobody will know until qualifying on Saturday.

Mark Webber has got the championship lead and with this circuit suiting him and his car, he should be favorite.

What is clear is that he cannot afford to sit back and cruise for points. The title hunt is too close with Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Button right on his heels.

Mark will need to try and maximize what should be a good circuit for him. With Korea an unknown track, and Brazil and Abu Dhabi not being an out-and-out track that favors Red Bull, he needs to take his chances.

It's just such a good championship and I think possibly it will be known as the tightest year we will ever have seen.

It's really pressure time, and the fact that the circuit is so daunting to get the most out of the machines, means that it should be a fire cracker of a race weekend.