Paddock Postcard from Suzuka 07 Oct 2012
With arguably the most dedicated fans in Formula One racing, the Japanese Grand Prix is always one of the most anticipated events on the calendar. Snap happy with their cameras and ever-eager for autographs from the paddocks great and good, the Japanese aficionados create a really unique atmosphere.
This year feels extra special given that Suzuka, designed by Dutchman John Hugenholz back in 1962, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel, who is always keen to make a splash with his helmet design, has marked the occasion with his lid for this weekend.
McLarens Jenson Button, meanwhile, was sporting a design decorated with a water dragon - as its the year of the water dragon in Japan this year. A Japanese flavour could also be seen further along the pit lane where, down at Marussia, drivers Timo Glock and Charles Pic tried their hand at making sushi.
There were a number of other familiar faces in the Suzuka paddock, including ex-Japanese Grand Prix star Ukyo Katayama. Derek Warwick was once again the driver steward, while fellow former F1 star Jean Alesi, who drove his last Grand Prix here for Jordan in 2000, was bursting with enthusiasm for his first proper attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in 2013.
Bridgestones former head of motorsport Hiroshi Yasukawa, now with Dorna in MotoGP, was also present. F1 hopeful Max Chilton was at Marussia as part of his new duties as reserve driver.
Hiroki Yoshimoto, the former GP2 podium finisher and now GT racer, also made a visit to his local track. Hes now the front man for the hugely popular Japanese band, DOA.
For more pictures, check out our Paddock Postcard gallery.
For tickets and travel to 2012 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 and F1 team merchandise, click here.