How to win the Japanese Grand Prix in F1 2017
Get the right setup, master the tricky bends and find the best overtaking spots with these tips from the game's designers.
30 years on from its F1 debut, Suzuka is still regarded as one of the most challenging circuits on the Grand Prix calendar. Indeed, Nigel Mansell lost the world title on the very first Formula One race at the track, crashing his Williams in practice at the Esses.
So you'll need to be on top form if you're going to win the Japanese Grand Prix in the fantastic F1 2017 game. We've got some inside knowledge with these top tips from the designers.
How to set up your car for Suzuka
An optimum setup across the whole lap is a compromise between high and medium downforce.
Everything about Suzuka rewards a precise driving style. The sweeping nature of many of the circuit’s 17 turns typically proves costly to cars with a sluggish change of direction so it’s tempting to crank up the wing angles, particularly at the front.
In contrast, there are plenty of flat out sections which can expose higher downforce setups, so an optimum setup across the whole lap is a compromise between high and medium.
Typically, slightly stiffer suspension on the rear compared to the front and a tweak towards rear weight distribution gives the car the precise front end needed to pick out those narrow racing lines, but caution should be taken to not go too far with that methodology, as a predictable balance can be very important on race day.
Avoid setting the brake bias too far to the front as lock-ups can be costly on this narrow circuit.
The best overtaking spots
The start/finish straight
Depending on your choice of car, the start/finish straight can be a blessing or a curse. A poor exit from the final corner can really open up opportunities for a good slipstream onto this long downhill DRS-enabled straight. Just be sure to be well ahead into Turn 1 as there is rarely more than one good line into that corner.
A common mistake is to lock up and run wide into the Hairpin (turn 11). Should a driver in front do so there are likely to be opportunities on the inside. Positioning the car on the inside early here can create opportunities for aggressive overtaking manoeuvres also.
The braking zone into Turn 15 is another good place to position your car on the inside of the corner for an aggressive late braking attempt. Such a move can be set up as early as the exit of Spoon curve, with a good slipstream up the hill and past the flat out 130R.
The S Curves
The famous S Curves (Turns 3-7) have a significant amount of camber which can really help the car maintain speed. Finding the right line through this section is a vital part of putting together consistently fast laps. Since all these corners follow on directly from the next, any deviation from your ideal line will likely compromise the subsequent corner.
Degner 2 (Turn 9) can be especially tricky as an ideal line requires a good exit from Degner 1. Beware of running too wide from Degner 1, as too much kerb can compromise braking stability on the downhill entrance to Degner 2. After a precise turn in, a wide exit can be utilised to maintain speed going under the tunnel.
The Hairpin (Turn 11) immediately follows a high speed kink to the right. Starting from the left-hand side of the circuit, be sure to position the car for a wide entrance to the hairpin immediately after the kink to allow the car to brake in a straight line and minimise the chance of lock-ups on entry. Maximise the camber of the corner at the apex to carry good speed through the tight apex then gently accelerate out for a smooth exit.
Spoon Curve (Turn 13) can tempt you into carrying as much speed as possible through the entrance of the corner, and there is some speed to be found by doing so. But it’s important to consider the positioning of the car during the mid point in preparation for the tighter exit. A precise turn into the sharper exit is crucial, as using too much inside kerb will unsettle the car, and running wide on the exit will result in a compromised exit, which will then mean reduced speed down the hill towards 130R.