Kimi Raikkonen believes some of the corners around the Suzuka International Racing Course will be easier in 2017 than in previous years, thanks to the higher downforce levels of modern day Formula 1.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver won in Japan back in 2005 in one of the all-time classic Grand Prix after starting seventeenth on the grid, and he feels the circuit is one of the old school-style circuits, thanks to its narrow track and limited run-off areas.
“Suzuka is a challenging circuit, a bit old style,” said Raikkonen. “It‘s quite narrow and the run-off areas, which used to be gravel, now have a tarmac surface.
“You need a good set-up to be able to push because in the first sector you can lose a lot of time. Here, like any circuit this year, I think we’ll be quicker. Because of the downforce we can be a bit slower in the straight, but through the corners we should be faster.
“There’s a lot of high speed corners, especially the first part. In the past, some corners have been a bit tricky, maybe this year they are going to be easier because we’ll be driving full speed through them.”
Although Raikkonen has not completed a racing lap in the past two races in Singapore or Malaysia, it is nothing to do with the pace of the car, and he hopes that pace continues into the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.
“Hopefully our car will be where we have been lately,” said Raikkonen. “In the last race we have had an unexpected issue, but a lot of work has been done to understand what failed. If that’s going to be enough to be first or second, we will see.
“The three top teams are pretty close, you have to get everything right and do your best. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will hold at some point, so that we can actually do some proper running”.