In 1962. Soichiro Honda, whose car company you may have heard of, was a man with big ambitions. Seeking to turn Honda into an automotive powerhouse, he decided his company should have its own test track. Dutchman John Hugenholtz got the nod, and drew up the now-iconic ‘crossover’ Suzuka track – although original drawings saw the track pass over and under itself a full three times, which would have been sweet!
Despite most people agreeing that Suzuka is a worthy successor to sliced bread in the ‘Best Thing’ stakes, the Japanese track was a relative latecomer to the F1 calendar, making its first appearance in 1987. Nigel Mansell would remember that weekend well, after he suffered a crash in qualifying that ruled him out of the race, gifting that year’s championship to his bitter rival Nelson Piquet.
Show us a racing a driver who doesn’t love Suzuka, and we’ll show you a liar. The high-speed track remains one of the ultimate driving challenges, with the snaking ‘S’ Curves, the two commitment-rewarding Degners and the white-knuckle ride of 130R all highlights in a series of highlights at what is one of F1’s seminal tracks. And hey, it’s got a crossover, which is always cool, right?
Follow us in a few moments for the latest updates and results from the Japanese Grand Prix, as the second practice session is about to get underway, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc at the wheel of the SF90, ready to continue evaluating the ideal set-up ahead of the qualifying session and the race on Sunday.