Designed by John Hugenholtz, the Zandvoort owner, and built in 1963, primarily as a test track for Honda, Suzuka has hosted the Japanese F1 GP since 1987 and is a very popular venue. The Japanese crowds are fanatical, so the atmosphere at this figure eight circuit is always excellent. Always near the end of the F1 Championship calendar, it has been the scene of many memorable moments in recent racing history to decide the Championship. This was particularly true in the late 80's and early 90's when McLaren-Honda, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were at their peak.
The circuit underwent renovation in 2009, making it compliant with the F1 regulations, and has since welcomed the Japanese Grand Prix every year. As a result, the circuit boasts first-class facilities and organisation. The circuit is particularly attractive for its technically-challenging track. Shaped in a figure eight, this puts technical strategy in drivers and teams to the test, as it can be a complex track to drive. The layout also consists of a good variety of corners, and the return section is a series of sweeping, fast curves, where drivers experience high G-forces. Its unique feature is the cross-over, giving it the figure eight layout; unusually, there is an almost equal number of left- and right-hand turns.
At nearly 6 km in length, it is one of the longest tracks on the international calendar. In 2018, Lewis Hamilton wrestled a fifty point lead over Sebastian Vettel, which eventually would lead him to claiming the World Championship title for the season; his fifth one yet! The podium was a Mercedes one, with Valtteri Bottas taking second place, and thus the duo also securing Mercedes a fifty-three points lead over Ferrari in the World Constructors' Championship. Third place went to Max Verstappen, who maintained this despite his five seconds penalty for the unsafe manner of his rejoining the track.
Excitement, dedicated fans, and a land of famous car manufacturers at your fingertips make of this the very place to be!
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