Webber expecting ‘exceptionally quick’ Suzuka Grand Prix

Mark Webber
Mark Webber

Aston Clinton racer Mark Webber says this weekend’s ‘brilliant’ Japanese Grand Prix will be super fast and brimming with excitement.

Previewing the race weekend, which starts with practice today (Thursday), Webber revealed he is a huge fan of the race, which he regards as one of the best on the F1 calendar.

“The cars are going to be exceptionally quick at Suzuka this year,” Webber said.

“The technical regulations are largely unchanged from 2012 and the improvements that each team has made will really show at a fast, aero-sensitive track like this. The Esses and Spoon are going to be sensational.

“The track is pretty much unchanged from when it was built in 1962, so you can really feel the history of the place. There’s always a fantastic atmosphere because the fans are very passionate and very knowledgeable; they know things like my date of birth and they give me bizarre gifts.

“As for the lay-out, it’s brilliant. The elevation changes aren’t that obvious on TV, but there are some very steep sections, particularly through the first sector. The approach to Turn 1 is steep downhill and you then head uphill through the Esses, which is a sensational series of corners.

“You’re constantly changing direction at high speed and you need your car to be well balanced.

“The first time that you’re travelling slowly on the lap is at the Hairpin, which is Turn 11. You have a slight breather there, but you’re soon travelling fast again, through Spoon, 130R and back towards the chicane. The track’s narrow, so you’ve got to be very accurate. I would dearly love to add this race to my list of wins because it’s one of the Blue Riband events on the calendar.

“While I’ve always loved Suzuka, I was never a big fan of Japan until 2011. I spent some time with Jenson (Button) and his girlfriend Jessica (Michibata) in Tokyo after the race that year and we had a great time. Now I look forward to going back each year.”