Fanatical fans– Yes, there's a passion and fervor at Monza that's hard to beat. And there's a peculiarly dogged British determination to support the sport through hail or gale at Silverstone. But here in Japan, fandom is on a whole other level. From carefully crafted flags and banners to bespoke driver-inspired plush toys and children immaculately dressed out in repro team kit, Suzuka's crowd has elevated fanaticism to the realm of some kind of slightly odd but utterly awesome performance art.
- Odd stunts – Time was when wherever F1 went the local PR machinery went into overdrive dreaming up mad stunts for drivers to do. US race? Then it must be ‘dress as a cowboy day'! For some reason, in recent years, all of that has gone by the wayside – except in Japan. Here there's still an irresistible urge to make drivers do the darnedest things. Indeed, we're far from immune and this year we had a go at turning Dany and Daniel into wrestlers and superheroes. You can check out the results at: www.infiniti-redbullracing.com/video/f1-v-sumo-no-contest
- Dinner lottery – Japanese cuisine is one of the most diverse, refined and downright clever in the world. It's just a shame then that for most of us, dinner revolves around blankly staring at a window full of weird plastic models of plates piled high with something white and something brown/green/oddly luminous pink. Bizarrely it seems that no matter which replica meal you plump for, the real thing is usually superb.
- Tokyo Time – While we like Singapore a lot, for a lot of us the first plane out after the race couldn't come soon enough. Why? Because three days in Tokyo beckoned. From robot restaurants, to bars celebrating the 8-bit video games of the early '80s, to just standing at the Shibuya station crossing and marveling at the madness, no city is as bonkers-level fun as Tokyo. However, just remember – while it might look like one, it's not a theme park.
- The Circuit – Now this does have a theme park, but while it has several rollercoasters, the most thrilling ride of all is the track. It's just phenomenal. All you have to do is look at the big sh*teating grins on the faces of the drivers as they take off their helmets and you know you're at one of F1's most special venues. Red Bull Racing