The Japanese Grand Prix is an unmissable event for true motor sport fans. Furthermore, for us, F1 Japan is something of a home race because of our partnership with Honda.
In fact, it was the founder of the Japanese auto company, Soichiro Honda, who wanted to build this facility, as a test track for the company’s cars. It’s also home to our friends from Casio, so Suzuka feels a bit like home for us at Scuderia AlphaTauri.
The Japanese GP rewards the audacious!
There have been 35 editions of the Japanese Grand Prix, from 1976 to the present day. The first two and those in 2007 and 2008 were held at Fuji, with all others taking place at Suzuka. Dating back to 1962, the John Hugenholtz-designed Suzuka Circuit is that rare creature, a Formula One circuit that tests every aspect of car and driver.
Like Spa, there are awesome high-speed corners such as 130R that push a driver’s resolve to the limit, an amazing ‘esses’ section, where incredibly rapid changes of direction put a premium on bravery and car balance, and the Degner Curves, at which the only options are perfection or a long walk back to the pits.
Not enough? OK, how about this: the Suzuka GP is held in the middle of a theme park called Motopia, it’s got its own Ferris wheel and the track is F1’s only figure-8 layout, even if the original design featured three cross over points!
Ask any F1 driver to nominate their favourite circuits and this one will make the top three every time. The last 6 editions of the Japanese Grand Prix, thus covering the turbo-hybrid era have all been won by Mercedes: 1 win for Nico Rosberg, in 2016 when he won the championship, 4 for Lewis Hamilton and one for Valtteri Bottas in 2019, the last time the race was held as the 2020 Japanese Grand Prix was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.