Japanese GP Preview – Wolff: “The car showed it was competitive in free air”

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Mercedes released the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix preview featuring comments from team boss Toto Wolff. You can read the full preview below!

“It was a very difficult Sunday for us in Singapore,” Wolff said.

“There were still some positives to take because we saw glimpses of the car’s pace and potential. But we couldn’t convert that into points in the race itself, although the car showed it was competitive in free air.

“We’ve had plenty to debrief and analyse over the past few days and many learnings to take forward. Thankfully we can move quickly onto the next race and a new challenge for us to tackle.

“Our target is to rebuild the momentum we had before Singapore and capitalise on the positive underlying performance of the car. There are still five opportunities to score good points and end the year strongly. Suzuka will give our package some challenges, and it will be hard to repeat the qualifying performance we saw in Singapore – but I hope that will be balanced out with a stronger Sunday afternoon.

“F1 hasn’t been to Japan since 2019 and the team is really looking forward to being back. It’s such a special track; one of the most challenging for both man and machine.

“And we’ve missed all the brilliant Japanese fans, too,” the Austrian concluded.

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Fact File: Japanese Grand Prix

  • Suzuka is unique for being the only figure-of-eight track configuration on the calendar – the section after the Degner Curve passes under the straight leading to 130R. Because of this, it’s also the only F1 track that runs both clockwise and anticlockwise.
  • This figure-of-eight layout is beneficial for tyre wear, with a more even balance between left and right-hand corners (10 being right-handers and eight being left-handers) distributing load more equally between tyres.
  • The first corner doesn’t require any braking on entry and in Qualifying, drivers don’t hit the brakes until the car is cornering at close to 5G – therefore generating some of the highest steering wheel torques of the season.
  • The steering wheel is moving continuously during almost all of the first sector of the lap. From Turn 1 until the exit of Turn 7, the drivers are constantly cornering for around 2km of the lap.
  • Most of the 5.807 km lap in Suzuka is spent with some lateral g-force going through the car and in fact, just 1.2 km of the lap is spent driving in a straight line. The lack of straights also mean it is the only track other than Monaco to feature just one DRS zone.
  • 130R is one of F1’s quickest corners, taken at 285 km/h, while Turn 11 is one of the slowest, at just 70 km/h.
  • The braking zone for Turn 11 is challenging because the drivers are mid-way through the fast Turn 10 when they hit the brakes. They are cornering at around 3.5G when they start applying the brakes, while turning right and then left for the hairpin. This is why lockups are so common at this section of track.
  • Suzuka is a very technical track, where a good flow is required because most corners are interconnected. One mistake will impact the next couple of turns.
  • It has one of the highest mass sensitivities of the season, which means carrying more fuel will be more penalising in terms of lap time and performance.
  • Whereas in Singapore, the brakes are punished, in Suzuka this is the complete opposite and there are only two real braking points on the track. Therefore, it is one of the lowest of the season for brake duty and wear.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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