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Japan preview quotes - Ferrari, FIA, Williams, Force India & more 05 Oct 2011

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 23 September 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 27 August 2011 Charlie Whiting (GBR) FIA Delegate. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 23 September 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 24 September 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams walks the circuit.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 22 September 2011 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1 on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 8 September 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 23 September 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 11 September 2011 John Booth (GBR) Virgin Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 23 September 2011 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 22 September 2011 Mike Gascoyne (GBR) Team Lotus Racing Chief Technical Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 26 March 2011 Tony Fernandes (MAL) Team Lotus GP Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Director. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 24 September 2011 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 11 September 2011 James Allison (GBR) Lotus Renault F1 in the FIA Press Conference. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 22 July 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren in the FIA Press Conference. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Martin Brundle (GBR) BBC Television Commentator with Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 24 September 2011 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 10 September 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 24 September 2011 James Key (GBR) Sauber Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 11 June 2011 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) HRT Formula 1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 10 September 2011 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) HRT Formula 1 Team. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 (L to R): Monisha Kaltenborn (AUT) Sauber Managing Director with Colin Kolles (GER) HRT Formula 1 Team and Dr. Manfredi Ravetto (ITA) HRT Formula 1 Team Director of Business Affairs.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 23 September 2011 Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director in the FIA Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 23 September 2011

Ask an F1 driver to name his favourite tracks and chances are Suzuka will get more mentions than almost any other circuit. Its mixture of gradient, high-speed turns and technical corner combinations make for one of the sport’s ultimate challenges - and one that gives a huge sense of satisfaction if you get it right. And with Japan still recovering from a devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year, the teams are especially eager to return and show their support…

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 5th, 2010 Race - 3rd

“I’ve won the Japanese Grand Prix twice; once at Fuji and once here at Suzuka, the latter being the best of the two, but I’m sure no one in my current team would agree with that. I can understand that, because I can appreciate how disappointed they must have been when Michael had to retire while leading ahead of me. It’s always bad to see a car stop with a failure. In fact, the same thing happened to me a few weeks earlier in Monza: Formula One can be a cruel sport at times. Even if it’s true we are no longer even mathematically in the hunt for the drivers’ title, there are still plenty of reasons to retain our motivation to tackle these last five races with the right attitude. First of all there’s second place in the drivers’ table. Given how the season has gone so far, with Vettel totally dominant, failing to get on the podium only once, being runner-up would really be a great result for me and for the team. There are four of us in the running, as I am up against Webber and the two McLaren guys and I reckon we will have to wait until Interlagos to find out who it will go to.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 12th, 2010 Race - DNF

“Suzuka is a track I really like and it is up there with Spa in terms of enjoyment, mainly because there are a lot of high speed corners which are very challenging and enjoyable when you get it right. There’s a real mix, as there are also some slow corners in the middle section and the Esses after the first corner, where you need a car to change direction very quickly and where you can make up or lose a lot of time. In the second sector you have the slow hairpin and then Spoon which is very interesting. Everyone talks about the 130R, but to be honest since they altered it on safety grounds it has become a bit like Eau Rouge at Spa, because in a Formula One car it is now almost a straight. 2006 was a very good year for me at Suzuka, where I qualified on pole position and finished second: doing that again this coming weekend would be nice, but we have to be realistic about the fact we will be facing the usual tough opponents. As to Ferrari’s chances, we must wait and see until we actually go out on track, because this season we have sometimes been strong on tracks where we had not expected to be competitive and sometimes it was the opposite. By the end of Friday free practice, we should begin to get an idea of our Japanese form. I hope we can be able to fight for the top places, even if, at this point of the season, there is not much more to come in the way of updates in terms of aerodynamics and other developments. While all the drivers like Suzuka, it has often been frustrating to race there, as overtaking is very difficult, but this year with the DRS, KERS and the influence of the Pirelli tyres, I expect that situation to change. I believe the plan is to have two DRS zones which will be a big help.

“I am happy to be going to Japan: I have heard that some of the MotoGP riders wanted to boycott their Japanese GP, which takes place at a circuit which is nearer to the Fukushima nuclear plant, but we need to consider that Suzuka is in a completely different part of the country. I have no concerns about going and I think it is good that Formula One is going to put on a show in a country that really appreciates our sport. I always love being in Japan and at the track, I will be there to do my job, but I am also hoping to see the people smiling and enjoying themselves. The Japanese fans are among the best in the world: on a Thursday when there is no on-track action, even if it is raining, they will sit in the grandstands to see what is going on in pit lane. You can feel the love they have for the sport and I am looking forward to being there together with them.”

Charlie Whiting, FIA race director
“Suzuka is the best circuit of the year. It’s a wonderful place. It’s always an absolute pleasure to go to Japan. The Japanese people are really great to work with and everybody from the Clerk of the Course downwards knows their job thoroughly and does an absolutely immaculate job. It’s truly a pleasure to work there. We sometimes have small communication difficulties because of the different languages, but we have good interpreters and we can normally overcome any problems. It’s a fantastic circuit and the fans are always quite a spectacle. They’re so enthusiastic but so well behaved and orderly.”

Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2010 Qualifying - 8th, 2010 Race - 9th

“I love Japan and think the Suzuka Circuit is a real drivers’ circuit. The Esses, behind the pit area, are my favourite part of the circuit. There is always a good buzz for us there and this year it won't be any different with the championship set to be decided in Suzuka once again. I can only hope for points from this weekend.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“It will be a good experience for me as I think it is one of the most important circuits of the season. It is a historical track that hasn’t changed much over the years, so it will be really exciting to drive on. There is a fantastic combination of corners and the first sector looks quite difficult. I think it will become one of my favourite tracks as it is quite quick and I like tracks like that. I’ve never been to Japan before so I’m looking forward to getting to know the country. We need to push hard this weekend to try and improve on our last result.”

Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
“Suzuka is a classic track with its trademark figure-of-eight layout that proves a stern technical test for the drivers. The circuit layout leads to very high average cornering speeds and energy input into the tyres, but it is light on brakes.

"Our levels of understanding regarding the driveability issues of the FW33 have increased significantly since Singapore and we are currently working hard to optimise the set-up and improve the car going into the Japanese GP. We obviously need to ensure that the car operates in the optimal aerodynamic window - this is fundamental to maximising our performance and we aim to be fighting for a points finish with both cars.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying - 15th, 2010 Race - DNF

“I love Japan and I’m happy that we can go there after all the tragic events that happened at the start of the year. I think it’s a good sign that we’re going back there. And Suzuka is a great circuit, one that suits me very well. I like it and it’s certainly one of my favourites. It’s a pure driver’s circuit. Some of the corners are outstanding, such as the ‘S’ curves and 130R, which is easily flat. It’s unusual to have so many amazing corners all in the same lap and getting them all right is the best feeling. Also, I spent a year living in Japan when I raced Formula 3, so it always feels like a second home. Last year we were strong at the beginning of the season and by the time we got to Suzuka it was not so easy for us. Based on the performance we have shown in the last four races, I think we can go to Japan thinking of scoring more points.”

Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“Suzuka is one of those venues that stand out because all the drivers love it and say great things about it. I went there last year - my first visit to Japan - and saw it for myself. Just walking the track makes you respect the place because it’s narrow, fast and has some really unusual corners. It also a technical lap: you can take different lines through some of the corners so there’s a lot for me to learn during Friday practice.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“I think Paul had more to learn in Singapore and he did very well. Suzuka should be a whole lot easier for him. For me as a team principal, both Adrian and Paul are dear to me, and I back both of them equally. If one has the advantage of experience over the other, it doesn’t mean that the other won’t perform well. I’m sure both of them will give it their best shot. I’m now looking to the remainder of the season with confidence. I see no reason why we cannot build on the performance we showed in Singapore and get some more excellent results in the final few races. I was focussed on getting ahead of Sauber and securing sixth in the championship. Now I’ve got my sights set on fifth, and I think we can do it, with a bit of luck!”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director
“After what has been a devastating year for Japan, we are very pleased to be showing our support for the country and coming to the Japanese Grand Prix, on a circuit that all the drivers love. Suzuka is all about putting power down effectively in order to obtain maximum grip in terms of traction, braking and cornering. There’s a lot of energy and lateral load going through the rubber, so once more it is going to be important for all the drivers to manage their tyres effectively, because of the speeds involved and a high-downforce set-up that pushes the tyres onto the road surface. We are likely to see our very first P Zero-equipped world champion crowned at Suzuka this weekend, so it’s a race that is set to go down in our history. The combination of soft and medium tyres has produced several close finishes in the past, as there is not a hugely different level of degradation between these two compounds. All the ingredients are in place for a memorable race.”

Timo Glock, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - 22nd, 2010 Race - 14th

“I look forward to driving again at this very fast circuit. It was disappointing for my race to end so early in Singapore and not be able to help the team. This means I look forward to the Japanese Grand Prix even more and I’m now 100 percent focused on the weekend ahead.

“Suzuka is such a fun and challenging circuit, I really enjoy racing here. The figure-of-eight layout is really unique and with the Spoon Curve and high-speed 130R corner, it’s a really demanding circuit with a thrilling fast-flowing lap, similar to circuits like Silverstone or Spa. 130R is one of the fastest corners in Formula One and you really have to think about how you approach it - it’s a real buzz to take the corner carrying so much speed.

“I’ve been back to Europe in the break to continue to work on my fitness for the long-haul races, which means a lot of cycling in Switzerland of course. The next two races, being back to back, are tough ones for the team so I’m as prepared as I can be to support us with what I hope can be two strong race performances.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I would say that my last race in Singapore was my toughest race ever but I was happy with the result and it was an important accomplishment for me in my racing career. I hope I can have a few more like that in the remaining races of the season.

“I think Suzuka is one of the best race tracks on the Formula One calendar. It’s challenging, fast and very technical - everything we hope for in a race track. Last year I had the chance to drive during the first Free Practice session in Japan and I think the first sector is the highlight of the lap; the Esses are incredible and it’s tough to keep the right line. There are also a couple of low-speed corners and a chicane where you have very heavy braking. Overall the layout of the circuit is sensational and I can’t wait to race here.

“I’ve been back home in the break - first to Belgium and then back to the UK - so I can keep up my training as this will be important for all the travel, different time zones and temperatures in the last five Grands Prix.”

John Booth, Virgin team principal
“Japan has always held a special place in the hearts of the F1 teams and drivers. It’s a fantastic driver’s circuit - one of the classics - and the enthusiasm of the fans is incredible. The F1 fraternity was heartbroken to see the devastation caused by the earthquake and Tsunami eight months ago and the widespread suffering as a result, so our return there this year will be all the more poignant.

“Suzuka is one of the drivers’ favourite tracks on the calendar and it’s easy to understand why. It’s a very challenging and technical circuit with frequent directional changes. Two critical points are the S-turns, a flowing combination of five corners where it is important to get the entry right; and the Spoon Curve, a double left taken as one, where it is crucial to find the perfect line and carry momentum into the following straight.

“We are in that final phase of the season now where the races are just flying by - it’s hard to believe there are only five remaining. Jerome enjoyed a strong race in Singapore and will be looking to harness that momentum I’m sure. Timo will be keen to make up for the disappointment of having to retire early in the race at one of his favourite tracks.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - 12th

“I headed out of Singapore on Monday and back to Europe to do a bit of work in the simulator before heading back out for the Japanese and Korean races. Singapore worked out really well for us and we all left feeling pretty good about what the new floor and diffuser had given us, and how we’d performed generally all weekend.

“Next up it’s Suzuka, somewhere I think all the drivers look forward to and a track that’s produced a lot of F1’s greatest moments. Most guys will say 130R is the corner that really stands out - it’s pretty hardcore heading in there at over 190mph and knowing you have to stay committed to avoid losing any time, but for me the best bit of the track is the whole run in S1 from T1 to T7. You go into T1 and T2 at high speed and you need to be committed to get the best out of the car through that fast, positive camber section, then from T3 right through to T7 is about the best sequence of turns we race in all year.”

Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 19th, 2010 Race - 13th

“I’ve always loved Japan so I’m really looking forward to getting back again for 2011. I have a lot of really good support out there, and the fans are always generous and happy but without the sort of pressure I get in places like Italy! On track I’d just like to have a race without some of the bad luck that struck again in Singapore. I’d had such a good start and was holding off the Toro Rosso and both Renaults well, even running 11th at one point as we went into the first round of stops, but the puncture I suffered when Alguersuari hit me was just another one of those things. Hopefully in Suzuka I can make up for that and get as much out of the car as I did on Sunday around Marina Bay.”

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
“Suzuka is without doubt one of the classic F1 destinations, both for what happens on track, and for its place in the sport’s history. The circuit is very quick, it puts a lot of demands on the tyres and the cars need to have very good high-speed stability, particularly when they are closely following a car ahead so they can keep up the pressure into the braking zones.

“130R is all about commitment, guts and the right line, and straight out of that corner and into the chicane at T16 / T17 is about the best overtaking zone on the track, but we also see moves being made into the hairpin at T11 as there are a couple of lines you can take in there and if you have good traction out you can stay ahead of someone you have passed all the way back to the chicane at the end of the lap.

"Pirelli are bringing the medium and soft compounds to Japan and as the circuit predominantly affects the cars’ lateral grip I think we will see degradation playing an even more pronounced role in Japan than it has throughout the rest of the season. With the small step forward we saw from our new aero package in Singapore I think we can use that and a bit of clever tyre strategy to take the fight again to the cars ahead, and if we can get qualifying right we have proved we can mix it in the races in midfield, so that has to be the aim again for the race - make sure both cars see the chequered flag and be there when it counts to take advantage of what happens around us.”

Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"2010 in Japan was our best race of the season - we finished 12th and 13th and essentially wrapped up our little battle for the title of fastest new team in Formula One, so it is a race and a country we hold very dear. I am delighted that we are heading to Japan next, both because it is a country that is very important to me personally, and to help The Japanese people show that their fantastic country is bouncing back from the terrible events there at the start of the year. We go around the world, doing business, racing, playing football and occasionally relaxing for a couple of hours, but we rarely have time to stop and take in what goes on around us, so it is good that we can go back to Japan now and help show that one of the greatest sporting events in our calendar is as successful, well managed and as great a spectacle as it ever has been.

“On the team side, I said after Singapore that that Grand Prix was just about our strongest ever race performance, and having been through the post-race reports it is very pleasing to see that our pace has definitely improved as a direct result of the upgrade package we brought out there. Jarno suffered again with bad luck, but the reliability issue that ended his race is still something we need to improve on - we may be small and we may not have the facilities of the teams ahead of us, but that does not mean our standards should be any lower than them, so we have to make sure in Japan, and at the remaining races, that we are a two car team that can help us guarantee tenth place this year. That is a reasonable aim and one everyone in the team is working very hard to achieve.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 1st, 2010 Race - 1st

“Suzuka is one of my favourite tracks; it really couldn’t have been built any better. The first sector up to the Degner Curve is the most spectacular and challenging of the whole season. The 130R is legendary; it’s great fun to drive straight through this left-hand bend. I’m not the only one who loves this track and our car normally loves it too. The fans in Japan are special. What they have been through in recent times is something I cannot begin to imagine, but they are so impressive. They are extremely patient and always polite and friendly and their stamina is amazing. I hope we can put on a good show for them this weekend.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 2nd, 2010 Race - 2nd

“After the massive tragedy that happened in Japan earlier this year, it’s nice to be part of something that people can hopefully look forward to. The Japanese people seem to love Formula One and the Suzuka Circuit is one of the best in the world. It has a sensational combination of corners, it’s very quick in the first sector. It’s quite a narrow track, so you have to be very, very accurate. Rhythm is very important there aswell; you have to make sure you have the car completely on the limit for all the corners and you have to get certain sections absolutely right. It’s a good challenge for the drivers and there are some good elevation changes as well - I’m looking forward to it.”

Bruno Senna, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 23rd, 2010 Race - DNF

“So far, I’ve driven at three very different circuits so far in very different conditions, and Suzuka will be another of the traditional races where I have limited experience. It’s one of my favourites. The blend of high- and mid-speed corners makes it a very stimulating track. It’s one of the classics that has changed very little since the start. I’m really looking forward to driving there, and I’m confident that I can put my name back on the points board for the team. With the updates we have planned for Suzuka we should be strong there, and hopefully will be able to get both cars in the points again - that’s where we belong.”

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 13th, 2010 Race - DNF

“Suzuka may be a famous circuit but it’s also quite a tricky one. Everyone knows it well, and all motorsport fans love it. I’ve only been to Suzuka once before, but racing there really is quite special. The track tests drivers in every way possible; it is challenging and very, very fast. If you count the number of high-speed corners that are taken in fourth gear or above, there are more than any other circuit on the calendar. The first sector is incredible: the ‘S’ curves are like a rollercoaster, flipping the g-forces from side to side through very long corners, and it’s tough to keep the correct line, particularly because if you get one corner wrong, you really suffer in the other corners.

“I hope the car will be strong there. It’s important to have confidence in the high-speed corners because if your confidence is down you can lose a lot of lap time. There is a very small margin for error because there are very few run-off areas, so as soon as you make a mistake, you are in the gravel. Often, when you are outside the car you don’t realise that the drivers are making errors, because you see them put a wheel over the kerb and onto the run-off area, before they come straight back on track. But Suzuka doesn’t work like that - if you go off with one wheel, you don’t come back. It’s one of the most fearsome tracks, but when you get it right it gives you immense satisfaction.”

James Allison, Renault technical director
“I expect us to be much more in the hunt than we were in Singapore. There are just two slow corners at Suzuka, and the R31 is much more at home on flowing, faster tracks. I will be disappointed if we are not in the top 10 cars in qualifying to give us an opportunity to exorcise the disappointment of Singapore. We ought to be able to get the car back into the points. We need to - Force India is starting to breathe down our neck and we need a few good results to stay ahead.

“Suzuka, like Spa, is one of F1’s classic tracks. It is popular with the drivers who relish the test of nerve and skill posed by the ‘S’ curves, Turn 1 and R130. These last two will be particularly interesting in 2011 to see whether anyone dares make it through them in qualifying with their DRS system activated. We are long overdue a wet Suzuka race - we have had a wet session every year since 2005 and yet surprisingly, all the races have been dry for over 10 years!”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 3rd, 2010 Race - 5th

“I love Japan, and the Japanese Grand Prix is one of the highlights of my season. This year, of course, we all travel to Japan extremely mindful of the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country earlier this year. I hope that the Japanese Grand Prix can successfully show the world that the country is strengthening and rebuilding itself after the terrible events of last March.

“As for the race itself, I think Suzuka will play to my strengths: it’s a track that really requires you to drive in an attacking way to be able to get a good lap time. It’s an uncompromising place. But that’s when the thrill of driving a Formula One car is at its highest; when you know you can’t afford a single mistake and where driving on the absolute limit is the only way to get the best time. In that sense, it’s a lot like Monaco, and maybe that’s why I like the place so much - it’s unique.

“I think we’re headed there in pretty good shape: we know that the Red Bulls will be strong - but we also have a very quick car, and we can make it work on different kinds of circuit. Suzuka is another reasonably high-downforce track, which should play to our strengths. The weather in Japan in the autumn is always unpredictable - we’ve seen before that it can be beautifully sunny and hot or extremely cold and wet. I’ll take any conditions as long as I can race hard.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 6th, 2010 Race - 4th

“I consider Japan my second home - it’s a place that’s very close to my heart, and, obviously, it’s going to be a very emotional experience for me to be racing in Japan for the first time since the events of last March. I’m very proud that the Formula One world championship will put Japan on the world’s sporting stage next weekend: while the country is still collectively rebuilding itself, I’m deeply aware that sport can play a significant role in helping to restore hope and normality to communities that were torn apart by the earthquake and tsunami.

“And I think it will be a great race for everyone. In the last few races, I think we’ve shown that we have extremely good pace and that we’ve been the team most able to take the fight to Red Bull. On paper, I think it’s a circuit that will suit the Red Bulls, particularly in the high-speed sweeps that make up the first sector of the track, but I certainly don’t think people should under-estimate our package. We showed at Spa that we have a car that’s very effective in high-speed corners. We’ve also improved our straight-line speed and we have a more efficient rear-wing for qualifying, so I think we’re feeling positive about the weekend.

“For everyone who follows Formula One, I hope we can put on a great race to bring further strength to the people of Japan. And to everyone in Japan, I say: ganbatte!”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Taking the long journey to Suzuka always reinforces the notion that we’re headed into the closing stages of the season. While there remains a mathematical, albeit slim, chance of Jenson securing the world championship, we realistically go into these last races with an undimmed resolution to win, and to ensure the world championship remains interesting, exciting and unpredictable for as long as possible!

“To that end, we’re still pushing ahead with the development of key areas of the MP4-26 - in particular, we’re focusing on areas where there will be significant carry-over of performance and learning into 2012. With the 26, the key areas of overlap development are the front and rear wings: any downforce we find this year can be carried over to the MP4-27.

“Encouragingly, we were able to successfully track-test our latest iteration of rear wing in Singapore, it proving sufficiently positive during Friday practice that it was deployed on both cars for the remainder of the race weekend. While there will be an inevitable shift of focus and deployment towards the new car, we still have enough momentum within the development system to ensure that we’ll still be introducing new parts through until the last few races of the season.

“Finally, McLaren has plenty of history in Japan - we’ve witnessed some incredible and unpredictable scenes involving our cars and drivers at both Suzuka and Fuji down the years - and, as a team, we’re all particularly proud to be going to Japan this year to play a sporting role in the redevelopment of a country that has endured terrible hardships and deprivation in 2011. It goes without saying that we will all be racing with the people of Japan in our hearts and minds next weekend.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - 14th, 2010 Race - 7th

“It is always very exciting going back to Japan to race, but when I went back last year it had been a long time since I had raced there and it felt especially good to be there. There were so many fans around and that in itself was very impressive. For me this year will only be the third time I have ever raced at the Suzuka circuit. Last year was my first time in a Formula One car, and before that I just did one Formula Toyota race in 2003 when I was 17-years old. Because of this I don’t know it that well, and certainly most of the other drivers know it better than I do. Nevertheless Suzuka is one of my favourite circuits, and I also think one of the best tracks as well. Racing there is exciting and cool. I think every driver likes it. It is really enjoyable to drive on if you get in the right rhythm. The S Curves - two, three, four, five and six - are my favourites. This is my home country and so many fans are waiting, so I really think it is great to do. I believe Japan is very important for Formula One and I think we can put on a good show for the sport, which is a good thing for the Japanese fans. I think my parents may be coming to see me race there as they came last year.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I think Suzuka will be one of the most special races of the season. For me it will the first time I go to Japan, but I have driven the circuit on the simulator and it is obviously an exciting one. I am very much looking forward to driving through the high speed corners in reality, and I also think those corners will suit our car quite well. Personally I want to keep up the momentum I think I have, and I can feel I’m getting on top of things. I want to improve and finish the season on a high. I also expect the team will get a lot of support from the Japanese fans because of Kamui, and this will be a nice experience as well.”

James Key, Sauber technical director
“Suzuka is an exciting and technical track, with many high speed corners and a mix of very technical low speed corners, and it's also the only track with a figure of eight configuration. It's always something special for our team to go to Suzuka with Kamui as our driver, as we get a lot of extra support. Suzuka is a very challenging track, and both our drivers have shown in the past that they are particularly competitive on demanding circuits. Kamui drove a brilliant race last year in Suzuka with spectacular overtaking. Sergio only knows the track from the simulator, but I have no doubt he will also be strong. We will bring a wide ranging aero package for the car, which includes a completely new front wing, new rear wings, new turning vanes and side pod deflectors, new brake ducts and modifications to the floor. This was always planned for Suzuka and, if it all works well, it should give us a reasonable step forward. Obviously we want to bounce back from some recent bad luck. Going into the final quarter of the season there will be tracks which should suit our car better. It would definitely be great to get a positive result for all our supporters in Japan in what has been a very challenging year for the people there.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT
2010 Qualifying - 17th, 2010 Race - DNF

“We’re reaching the final straight of the championship with the next event in Japan. Suzuka is one of my favourite circuits and definitely one of the nicest tracks. It is a really fast and technical circuit where set-up and aerodynamics are key to having a good result. It won’t be an easy place for us but we will put up a fight until the end. We are really motivated to keep on pushing until the end of the season. Weather conditions are uncertain, which could be interesting since experiencing difficult weather conditions in Japan may give us a better chance of achieving a good result. For this Grand Prix I’ve wanted to pay my respects to the victims of the earthquake that struck Japan earlier this year by wearing a special edition helmet named Embracing Japan designed by Kaos Design, the helmet will later be put up for auction with the benefits going towards charity.”

Daniel Ricciardo, HRT
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I’m looking forward to driving at Suzuka for the first time. I’ve heard from many of the drivers that it is a beautiful circuit with a lot of history. I spent some time in the simulator and the first sector looks like a lot of fun with the ‘S’ curves followed by an uphill which, apparently, is a lot steeper than what you can appreciate on television. It seems like a real driver’s circuit which is always nice, a place where you can try and get the most out of the car. I'm really excited because reality is always better. The weekend in Singapore was positive, the progression has been good in every race and I hope that this trend will continue in Japan.”

Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
"After the earthquake that struck Japan earlier this year, it is important that Formula One goes back there and we all show our support and commitment to the country and the Grand Prix. Singapore was a tough race but we had a positive weekend overall closing the gap to our rivals and having both cars finish the race. Nevertheless, we have to continue making steps forward. Suzuka includes some of the most challenging corners like the high-speed 130R and the famous Spoon Curve, and its unique layout makes it one of the most special ones on the calendar. It is a medium to high-downforce track but we expect the updates that we brought to Singapore to slightly improve our performance under such conditions. Tonio's experience and skills will certainly contribute to this improvement while Daniel will find himself again facing a new challenge at a track that he has never driven around before, although I am sure he will adapt to it and push as he has done over the past races."

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 10th, 2010 Race - 6th

"Suzuka is a very special circuit, and one which has held great races, and great memories, for me over the years. I always enjoy the challenge of driving here and getting the technical set-up of the car right to get the best from the demanding layout of the track. A great first sector, high-speed turns, and interesting corner combinations all make Suzuka one of the best race tracks of the year, and definitely one of my favourites. We will be working hard to make the most of our weekend here, and hopefully we can come away with a strong performance and some more points."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 7th, 2010 Race - 17th

"I always enjoy visiting Japan for the Japanese Grand Prix, and Suzuka is truly a great race track. Personally I think it's one of the best circuits on the Formula One calendar, along with Spa, and one which every driver loves. The layout is very challenging with high-speed corners and difficult chicanes. In the past, overtaking has been really difficult here, so it will be interesting to see how the new rules affect the racing. I always love the atmosphere in Japan and the fans are really enthusiastic in their support. Let's hope we can put on a show for them and achieve a good result."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"Suzuka is a classic racing circuit which has hosted some memorable races over the years, and we are looking forward to returning to Japan next week. The recent improvements to the circuit and paddock have made Suzuka an excellent venue, and the support that Formula One receives from the enthusiastic Japanese fans is always very impressive. After the tragedy which took place in the country earlier this year, we hope that the race will provide entertainment and enjoyment, and it seems somehow fitting that the championship is likely to be decided in Japan. From our team's perspective, we had a more challenging weekend in Singapore than at the final two European races, however Suzuka is a track which should be more suited to our car, so we will work hard to have a stronger weekend here."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka holds a very special place in Formula One. We always enjoy the warm welcome from the Japanese people, their great passion and enthusiasm for our sport, and of course the challenge of the majestic Suzuka circuit. Following the tragedy that struck the country last March, the whole Formula One community is determined to put on an exemplary and thrilling race for our loyal and dedicated fans, many of whom have endured great hardships over the past six months. The circuit itself needs no introduction - it is one of the world's greatest tracks, which tests man and machine to the limit. The layout is unique and one of the drivers' favourites; a mega-challenging circuit that is said to divide the men from the boys. In terms of average lap speed, Suzuka ranks - together with Spa and Monza - among the top five of the season, which should mean our technical package should be better suited here than at the slower speed tracks. Having said that, it is clear to us that we cannot change the current pecking order at Suzuka; our target will be to produce performances like we delivered in Spa and Monza."

More to follow.

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