A lap around Suzuka with Rubens Barrichello
Williams ace Rubens Barrichello gives the lowdown on the Suzuka track which hosts the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.
Suzuka is a very challenging drivers' circuit and one of the 'old school' venues like Spa, Monza, Silverstone and Interlagos.
A lap of Suzuka feels something like this:
The last chicane at Casio Triangle is quite slow, which allows you to get on the power early on the exit. This means that we can arrive at turn one, or First Curve as it's called, at 275kmh, making this one of the fastest corners in Formula One and requiring total commitment.
We brake hard into turn two, which tightens and requires a very precise exit to set the car up for the series of 'S' Curves. This is a great combination of curves, requiring a very good car balance.
If handled well it can be very rewarding as the mixture of left and right turns flows well together, giving a great sense of cornering force.
The final element of this section of track - the Dunlop Curve - opens out into the fast 225 km/h Degner One, which again flows very smoothly into the tighter Degner Two, concluding this most challenging section of the Suzuka track.
Now we accelerate hard out of Degner Two and along the short straight towards the hairpin, crossing under the part of the track which is a figure of eight layout. This is both the slowest, and lowest, point on the circuit. After the previous series of curves, this hairpin seems desperately slow at 70km/h.
Climbing the hill through the fast, flat right-hander, we head for the farthest point on the circuit - Spoon Curve. This double-apex left-hander has a fast entry at 200km/h, which tightens to 150km/h, and requires a clean, tidy exit to ensure maximum speed on the long straight back towards the pits.
The highest point on the circuit, where we cross over the track once more, is an exhilarating flat left-hander called 130R, which is taken at 300km/h. It used to be more challenging but it is still a quite incredible feeling to drive through there.
Next, hard braking down to 80km/h for the ultra-tight right-left chicane, Casio, brings us back on to the pit straight for the finish line.
All in all, this is a great track. Rubens Barrichello / Eurosport