Previewing the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, Jenson Button was quoted as saying that he likes the unforgiving nature of the track, in particular because it still has many gravel traps on the outside of crucial corners.
While the FIA has been adding tarmac run-offs at nearly all tracks on the Formula One calendar, the Japanese Suzuka circuit is one of the race exceptions, at least up to some measure. When this move initiated to improve safety, some criticism arose, but that faded away as time goes on.
Button however now says he likes unforgiving tracks, hinting that tarmac run-offs make racing too easy.
“The thing I really like about Suzuka is that it’s such an unforgiving track. On most circuits, if you run wide or out-brake yourself, you invariably end up just running onto the Tarmac run-off, so you can easily get back onto the track without any penalty. At Suzuka, if you run wide through the Esses, or go off the track at the exit of the Degners, you’re going to find yourself in the gravel. And I like that – I think it rewards those who don’t make mistakes, and it makes for better racing, because you have to stay honest and focused.
Button also considers this his second home circuit, thanks to his emotional victory during the 2011 season, the first Japanese Grand Prix after the terrible tsunami that devastated the north of Japan.
The track is however most known for its high speed flowing corners, resulting in a set-up requirement similar to that of Spa-Francorchamps.
“Suzuka requires a car with a rock-solid balance and good downforce in order to go well. We’re not quite there with our car, but Korea showed that we can race well and, even despite misfortune, can score points. I think the whole team is keyed up for another positive weekend.”