(Photo Credit: FIA on Twitter)
After an almost three year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hunt for the 2022 Formula One World Championship comes to one of the most popular race tracks on the calander for fans and drivers alike for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix at the famed Suzuka Circuit. Up until now, the season has been dominated by Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing as the team has not finished outside the top spot since the Austrian Grand Prix all the way back in early July. With a strong run for Verstappen in Japan, he could leave the land of the rising sun with the drivers championship secured for the second year in a row. Below is everything you need to know for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.
Event History: Mario Andretti took the first ever win in the Japanese Grand Prix all the way back in 1976. After the 1977 season, Formula One did not return to Japan until 1987 and has remained on the schedule ever since. Traditionally one of the last races of the season every year, the event has crowned 12 different drivers as world champion by the end of the event. Most recent of them has been Lewis Hamilton in 2018. The famed Micheal Schumacher has the most wins in event history with six wins and Hamilton leads all active drivers with five. Joining Hamilton as winners in the event are Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, and Fernando Alonso.
2019 Event: Like the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this year, we have to go back to 2019 to look at the last time drivers took to the Suzuka Circuit. Sebastian Vettel was at the front of the field as the lights went out but due to a very poor start Valtteri Bottas was able to pass him off the start and was able to retain the lead for all 53 laps as he went on to win by a margin of 13 seconds over Vettel. For Lewis Hamilton, he finished third in the event and went on to win his sixth drivers championship towards the end of the season.
Track Facts: As one of the oldest circuits on the Formula One schedule, the Suzuka Circuit is liked by mmany drivers and fans alike for its challenging sections of tracks that push man and machine to the absolute limit. Being only one of two tracks in the world that the has the FIA Grade One desgination while being in a figure eight layout, the first piece of track drivers have to navigate through is the famous esses that make up turns three through seven. One of the biggest passing sections on the track would be the turn eleven hairpin that is the slowest corner on the track. The most famous section of track is the famed turn fifteen, also known as 130R, one of the fastest turns in all of Formula One as drivers can take it flat out through the right-hand turn. Suzuka only has one DRS zone and that is on the pit straight heading into turn one.
Tire Allocation: (C1 -> Hardest/Softest <- C5)
C1 (2 sets)
C2 (3 sets)
C3 (8 sets)
Weather: Expect cloudy conditions for race day as highs will only get to around 65 during the day. There is a chance for rain as it gets later in the day with a 40% chance of rain as the checkered flag flies in Japan.
Where to watch: You can watch the Japanese Grand Prix on ESPN2 at 12:00 A.M. CST