McLaren F1 Team‘s Fernando Alonso is looking forward to Formula One’s return to the Land of the Rising Sun this weekend and can’t wait to tackle the ‘demanding’ Suzuka Circuit.
Dubbing Suzuka as one of the ‘best tracks of the year’, it is clear that it is a firm favourite amongst drivers. The 5.807 km circuit has played host to some fantastic races over the years, with Alonso’s most memorable outing coming in 2006, where a late engine failure for Michael Schumacher handed the Spaniard the lead of the race and the championship lead going into the final round.
“I love Suzuka – it’s one of the best tracks of the year,” he commented.
“I’ve had some great memories there – 2006 is a personal highlight – and I love spending time in Japan. This year I’ll finally be able to get used to the time zone, as I’ll be there for two weeks, one week in Suzuka and one in Fuji. I’m looking forward to it and also to visiting Tokyo, where I’ll try to spend as many days as possible between racing.”
Many drivers cite the fans as a reason for their love of Suzuka. The Japanese crowds come out en masse throughout the weekend, making for a phenomenal atmosphere.
“The fans are the most incredible thing about Suzuka,” he continued.
“They are amazing, even from Thursday when we have our media day and we go to the grandstands for the autograph signing, we see so many fans.
“Equally, it wouldn’t be fair to say it’s only the fans that make the circuit so special. It’s great because it’s very demanding and perfect for Formula 1 cars. You can use all the potential of these cars and their aerodynamic performance as they match perfectly with the corners at Suzuka.
“The first sector is quite impressive, and when everything works well and you’re confident in the car you can really push through the Esses. The g-forces and the feelings you get when you race there are quite amazing. As drivers, we love the speed – even when it’s flat-out it’s still enjoyable.”