Suzuka: The Traps of Verstappen, Hamilton & Co.  / Formula 1

Suzuka: The Traps of Verstappen, Hamilton & Co. / Formula 1

It is no coincidence that Formula 1 drivers enjoy driving on the Suzuka Circuit Honda race track. Long-time Formula 1 mechanic Gary Anderson explains where the pitfalls are.

One corner after another – unsurprisingly, almost every current Formula 1 driver mentions Suzuka when it comes to their favorite tracks. Gary Anderson, former head of technology at the Jordan, Stewart Grand Prix and Jaguar racing teams, knows the dangers of this rollercoaster ride.

A 73-year-old Northern Irishman says: “It starts with the turbulence of what are called S-curves, a very bad part of the mountain. If you approach the first few turns wrong, your problems will only get worse as you continue on this section of the slope. And at the end there is a very fast left turn, Dunlop. A whole section can only last ten seconds in a Formula 1 race, but if you make a mistake here, your laps are damaged, that’s the time you can’t make up.”

«Every racing driver likes fast corners, like S-curves or the super fast 130R, before the start and finish. That’s also where the only corner that Formula 1 drivers despise awaits – the edge of the chicane jump.”

“Otherwise, Suzuka enjoys everyone’s respect because mistakes are properly punished here. We don’t have endless places to run. Anyone who drives near a train here is in serious trouble. As a rule, a trip means an accident.

“No driver wants to have an accident, but the excitement of knowing that you can’t make any mistakes does not leave the driver unaffected. A good example is the two Degner curves. It’s not as fast as the Dunlop or the 130R, but the former is close at top speed. Some people underestimate the speed there. Degner 2 is worse because it seems invisible. We have almost zero chance of crashing because the track runs down the back straight – Suzuka is basically a big eight.”

What will drivers have to consider when setting up their car for the Suzuka circuit?

Gary Anderson knows: “A car needs a high level of stability when changing direction quickly, aerodynamic balance and mechanical stability are required. What you don’t want in your car is under par – otherwise you’ll end up in the tail during the S-curve. Therefore, drivers tend to set up the car in such a way that few can drive very fast, with a slightly nervous rear end. You need a car that drives freely and willingly and conveys a lot of emotion through the steering wheel.”

Australien-GP, Albert Park Circuit

01. Carlos Sainz (E), Ferrari, 1:20:26.843 h
02. Charles Leclerc (MC), Ferrari, +2,366 sec
03. Lando Norris (GB), McLaren, +5.904
04. Oscar Piastri (AUS), McLaren, +35,770
05. Sergio Pérez (MEX), Red Bull Racing, +56,309
06. Lance Stroll (CDN), Aston Martin, +1:33,222
07. Yuki Tsunoda (J), Racing Bulls, +1:35,601
08. Fernando Alonso (E), Aston Martin, +1:40.992*
09. Nico Hülkenberg (D), Haas, +1:44.553
10. Kevin Magnussen (DK), Haas, +1 Lap
11. Alex Albon (T), Williams, +1
12. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Racing Bull, +1
13. Pierre Gasly (F), Alpine, +1
14. Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Sauber, +1
15. Guanyu Zhou (RCH), Sauber, +1
16. Esteban Ocon (F), Alpine, +1
George Russell (GB), Mercedes, accident
Lewis Hamilton (GB), Mercedes, engine failure
Max Verstappen (NL), Red Bull Racing, Bremsdefekt

*20 second time penalty for braking in the fight with George Russell
Entry waived: Logan Sargeant (USA), Williams
(Alex Albon crash in free practice, no replacement chassis in Australia)

World Championship Standings (after 3 out of 24 Grands Prix)

the driver
01. Verstappen 51 points
02. Leclerc 47
03. Perez 46
04. Sainz 40
05. Plate 28
06. Norris 27
07. Russell 18
08. Alonso 16
09. Walk 9
10. Hamilton 8
11. Tsunoda 6
12. Oliver Bearman (GB) 6
13. Hulkenberg 3
14. Magnussen 1
15. Alboni 0
16. Zhou 0
17. Ricciardo 0
18. Okon 0
19. 0 gas
20. Bota 0
21. Sergeant 0

Builders Cup
01. Red Bull Racing 97 Punkte
02. Ferrari 93
03. McLaren 55
04. Mercedes 26
05. Aston Martin 25
06. Running Bull 6
07. Especially 4
08. Williams 0
09. Sauber 0
10. Alpine 0