Suzuka’s 130R may not be flat-out any more – Sutil

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Adrian Sutil believes the reduced downforce levels on the current generation of F1 cars will mean Suzuka’s famous 130R corner will no longer be flat-out.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Preview – 2014 Japanese Grand Prix (Sauber)

“I believe it will be difficult to go flat out through the very fast 130R left corner due to the reduced downforce of this year’s cars.”

Alonso sure Ferrari will beat Williams (Autosport)

“There is Abu Dhabi with double points and there is a lot of opportunities that we will have to close that gap.”

Driver Training (Toro Rosso)

“Jev tends to be an attacking driver in terms of being hard on the brakes and the accelerator, but he is gentle and very smooth with his steering input. Daniil prefers a car that is more “on the nose” which means he likes it to turn around a “pointy” front end and does not like understeer.”

Ban on team radio ‘coaching’ won’t change much (UBS)

David Coulthard: “As for the drivers I spoke to in Singapore last weekend, some were for it, some were against it, some were not fussed either way. I think that just about sums this whole issue up. It’s not going to make much of a difference. It’s all a bit of a nothing.”


Comment of the day

Are the new five-second penalties being used this year so lenient drivers could exploit them?

The stewards had better be careful that it isn’t worthwhile for drivers to intentionally take a five-second penalty for the benefit of track position.

I can’t remember if this happened with Jean-Eric Vergne, but if you can open up more than five-seconds after passing someone illegally then it’s worth taking the penalty. If anything the stewards should err on the side of caution and make sure they are worse off after taking the penalty than if they had driven ‘legally’.
Keith Campbell (@Keithedin)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Alan Jones held off home favourite Gilles Villeneuve to win the Canadian Grand Prix 35 years ago today. Jones’s team mate Clay Regazzoni made it two Williams cars on the podium.

Here’s the start of the race:

Image © Red Bull/Getty

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

80 comments on “Suzuka’s 130R may not be flat-out any more – Sutil”

  1. I hope it rains on Sunday. There hasn’t been a single wet race this whole year, has it?

    1. @reiter The Hungarian GP this year was affected by rain.

    2. Budapest! And it was mixed. Wet then dry the way I like it! Would be cool to see mixed conditions in Japan as well.

      1. I’d rather a dry start turning to a wet race, would mix up the strategies quite a bit and none of that safety car start nonsense.

        1. @dryyoshi, not looking forward to a race of ‘we think rain is coming in a few minutes, preserve until then’ .

    3. The race may not have been wet, but it certainly rained a lot on the Saturday at Spa (so glad we brought brollies!)

      Apart from that, Hungary, as previous commenters have said.

    4. I would like Brazil 2012 style, but with more rain in the end

      1. @f1indofans Brazil 2008 was terrific. Best finale I’ve ever seen.

    5. This storm is supposed to be a Category 3 Typhoon on Sunday. So once the outer bands come in and bring rain, it will not stop until the storm is gone. But my experience is (having lived in Florida for a while and experienced a few) that the rainfall will not allow them to race. It would be safety car all day Start to Finish. With this monster Storm approaching and the timeline given, The race might not ever happen on Sunday.

  2. I think CotD is right and I do believe that the rules has been exploited.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      30th September 2014, 1:17


    2. That rule is plain stupid and easily exploitable, either by opening up a 5 sec gap or taking the penalty during the pitstop. Whatever happened to 10 sec stop-and-go penalties? It seems they are now used on rare ocassions or due to more serious offences. Taking these mini penalties is just dumb, and there have been many examples recently, like Vergne last race. Bear in mind I’m not questioning his tremendous race, just noting he was unaffected by the last 5 sec penalty due to him being insanely faster on fresher tyres.

      1. Also, what happened to the penalty points on their licenses. The only person I can think of who’s collected points has been Maldonado.

        1. Bianchi, Magnussen have too. I want to say Gutierrez has some, but I’m not sure.

        2. @eriko a few do have them, but nowhere near enough are given out.

      2. I really am not too sure about anyone abusing this. Vergne got the penalty handed in the last couple of laps, when he wasn’t going to make any more pitstops.

        The idea of this penalty is to be a clear penalty but not ruin anyones race for relatively small infringements. If he had gotten a drive through or even a stop and go penalty he would have dropped to the back of the field for this minor incident. That would really be unfair.

        And this was a specific case. How often have we seen any car be able to make that gap in a couple of laps at the end of the race? Had the cars behind him been able to go as fast, they would surely have done so to get “in front” on time.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      30th September 2014, 7:46

      I think it is quite the opposite.
      The 5sec penalties are given in instances when there used to be no penalty. We did not have this many penalties in the past; the marshals seem to be stricter now (and were even more so a few races ago).

      And there is still the 20sec penalty, and a lot more.

    4. JEV made it work because the SC was deployed and half the field was nursing tyres while JEV were on fresh rubber. It worked because a number of things were in his favour but most times drivers will not have tyre advantage to charge towards the end of the race building penalty-proof gaps.

      1. @jcost Exactly what I was going to say. There were many factors to it. Had there not been a SC, he’d have finished way down the order. If anything, the penalty meant he had to go guns blazing, which produced some pretty stellar overtakes just so he didn’t have to wait behind the cars ahead for any longer than he needed to.

        1. @philereid +1

          Alonso had a 5 seconds penalty and lost out in a “normal” race.

  3. I’ve always found taking 130R flat out a bit of a challenge … on my PS3, that is.

    1. @schooner Really? I mean no offense to your driving but F1 2013 is sooo realistic to the extent that Eau Rouge can be taken flat in heavy rain conditions, in a 1980 Williams. And the same goes for 130R. It’s just a kink.

    2. I was thinking the same. On PS3, of course, Eau Rouge was easy flat out but 130R was always that little bit harder to get right every time…

    3. eau rouge is easy flat on f1 2013 on pc but 130R was difficult flat with DRS open and on high fuel load i got understeer but on low fuel DRS closed it was easy flat easier than eau rouge

  4. Anyone taking bets on Red Bull proving him wrong? :P

    1. @george
      Meh, the Red Bull chassis is overrated. Ferrari were just as fast around Singapore.

      1. Aww, someone thinks Ferrari is on par with Red Bull. Cute

      2. But a few years ago they were taking 130R with an open DRS, werent they?

        1. Yep, 2011 with the blown diffusers it was if I remember correctly the only car able to do it.

          1. No in 2012 RBR is the only car taken flat out with DRS open at R130

        2. Might be harder this year, I think the top speeds will be way higher by the time they get there so it might be a challenge for them. But some will try it, they might only be able to do it in qualifying.

        3. even in 2013 low fuel it was flat with DRS open on higher fuel load and slightly worn tyres it wasnt

          1. They could use DRS through 130R last year? I thought it had been limited to DRS zones during Practice/Qualifying.

      3. Very rose tinted those spectacles.

      4. @kingshark No, RBR chassis is not overrated. I think Mercedes chassis doesn’t get the credit it deserves but Bulls chassis is spot on.

        1. @jcost
          Then the Ferrari chassis doesn’t get the credit it deserves either. When you compare their pace in Singapore to their pace in Monza, it becomes obvious that the biggest weakness of the F14T is the engine, not the chassis.

          And yes, I do think that the RBR chassis is overrated, at least relative to the rest of the grid; so many people have stated that they would “dominate” with equal engines.

          1. @kingshark maybe many place RBR chassis way above the rest and it’s not like that. Ferrari chassis is good as well and Williams is OK, but is not very versatile.

  5. Sure Ferrari can beat Williams and take advantage of Abu Dabhi, but that would actually require Raikkonen to step up his game.

    1. Abu Dhabi has very long straights, but it also has sector 3 so it might be close. Either way if the Williams qualify ahead of the Ferraris they will beat them cause no way the Ferraris will overtake them on the straights.

  6. Not in the Sauber it won’t.

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking.

    2. Yes, we should get opinions from other drivers :)

  7. Maybe not in his Sauber! Either way, the same was said about Eau Rouge and Raidillon. I think by qualifying it will be flat out.

    1. Even the drivers in better cars said it wasn’t an easy flat out like it’s been since the early 2000s.

    2. With full race fuel, I think one or two drivers were lifting through radillon, so I’m guessing it may be similar at 130R. If it turns it into a corner at any stage it will be an improvement. I’m guessing Max will probably feather the throttle a little through there…both of them.

  8. No corner is taken flat out in a Sauber anymore. Whether that’s because of the drivers or the car is an entirely different matter.

    1. I’d say the difference is mostly in the car – not enough grip to be able to do it – although better drivers would surely help them to a better place in the ranking!

  9. I’m really pleased that 130R will become a ‘proper corner’ again, we saw it to an extent with Au Rouge and Parabolica, I’m all for corners being more of a challenge. I’m hoping the FIA have the balls to continue to make F1 cars harder to drive, not just for the show, I want to feel there is no way I could jump into one of the cars and drive it, I want to be in awe of the drivers skills. Not watching a 16 year old showing what he is made of in FP1 by setting competitive times, it just doesn’t do it for me!

    1. Exactly. It should be barely possible to drive the most challenging fast corners flat out, any easier and they might as well be straights.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      30th September 2014, 7:55

      @thebullwhipper, Never thought much about it, but you are 100% correct. If you can take a ‘turn’ flat out we should not call it a turn anymore. Otherwise we can start naming/numbering every ‘straight’ with a slight bent as well.
      Is there a definition of what a turn is? Or is it just the naming of the original circuit designer.

      PS – isn’t the 16 year old turning 17 today. Happy Birthday!

      1. I was only 4days out and didn’t know it was his B’day until after I’d hit send.

    3. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      30th September 2014, 10:17

      Right, it was just a matter of time before somebody would play the Verstappen-card.
      I must admit that his arrival in F1 either will be a disaster for him and his career, or that it will make F1 look too easy and not like the pinnacle of motor sports, with fighter plane pilots behind the wheel, doing things beyond what most people can do. But when I put my rose spectacles on, and look at F1 as a place where drivers do go beyond what is actually conceivable for average Joe, I like the idea that Verstappen might just be a very, very special talent. Assuming that F1 is still something extraordinary, Verstappen might just be sensational.
      Yes, it does mean that you have to get rid of being a little cynic on F1, but I really hope that we will see a sensational talent in F1 once again. The last time that happened was Hamilton almost winning the WDC in 2007 I think, and seeing an 18-year old Alonso qualify an F3000-worthy Minardi PS01 on the second or third last row in Melbourne in 2001.

    4. @thebullwhipper
      I couldn’t agree more, for the first time in many years I’ve been enjoying seeing drivers having to struggle through some challenging corners this season and I’d love to see even more restrictions on downforce in future years so that we can seperate the good drivers from the great drivers.
      F1 shouldn’t be easy and corners such as 130R shouldn’t be flat out for everyone.

  10. Apart from 130R, I think the series of left-right corners in the first sector will really separate the good cars from the rubbish ones, I expect a much bigger gap between cars than in Singapore.

    1. @mantresx
      Absolutely i think T1 and Degners will show what the cars are really capable off with the quick change of directions

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        30th September 2014, 10:27

        Good point. It will be very interesting to compare sector 1 times this year to other years. I have looked them up, and looking at the top 5 sector 1 times on, this is the pattern that emerges:
        2009 − between 31.7 and 31.9
        2010 − between 31.6 and 32.1
        2011 − between 32.1 and 32.2
        2012 − between 32.4 and 32.8
        2013 − between 33.5 and 34.0

        I don’t need to plot a graph to see what’s going on here. Bets are open for 2014. Here’s my bet: 2014 − between 35.0 and 35.5.

        1. I really think a 35.2 -36.7 The Straight speed will be faster around 320+ but the esses will kill time for every car

        2. @hanswesterbeek, nice challenge.
          Although I think your 13 number might be incorrect (’13 Quali sector1 top5 was 31.9 – 32.1).

          Based on that I’ll put my money on 33.9 – 34.5.

          1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
            30th September 2014, 13:15

            You’re right, I don’t know how that slipped in there. That changes the trend a little, as ’13 was faster than ’11:
            2009 − between 31.7 and 31.9
            2010 − between 31.6 and 32.1
            2011 − between 32.1 and 32.2
            2012 − between 32.4 and 32.8
            2013 − between 31.9 and 32.1

          2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
            3rd October 2014, 9:06

            So, here we go, the top 5:
            2014 FP1 − between 35.4 and 37.1
            2014 FP2 − between 34.2 and 34.8

            That looks quite dramatic. Even as this is only Friday, they seem at least one second off compared to last year.

  11. Sutil…. he said we couldn’t go flat at Eau Rouge earlier this year. OK….. and it proved to be wrong. and now, 130R … I think the media took it wrong, he meant HE couldn’t go flat at Eau Rouge and 130R

    1. The headline is actually rather misleading, since what Sutil actually says is that it will be difficult to go flat out – he doesn’t actually say that it will be impossible to go flat out though.

      1. Actually, splitting hairs here, but the headline is consistent with what Sutil says…’130R may not be flat out anymore’ is consistent with ‘will be difficult to take flat’, but it is the first sentence of the article that is more misleading where it says ‘130R corner will no longer be flat out.’

    2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      30th September 2014, 14:45

      If the simulator was any good then surely he’d know for sure.

  12. I think Ferrari still have a chance because next few races don’t match Williams cars, but Kimi need to raise his game, so far Felipe is getting better and better while Bottas is really good [singapore without a doubt was his worst, though]

    1. @f1indofans He could not have done any better in Singapore. Right before his tyres went off due to a car problem he was running behind his teammate.

      1. I thought it was driver problems not technical, but anyway Williams will be very hard to caught by Ferrari

  13. Completely disagree with the comment of the day @keithcollantine @keithedin . To suggest such a thing because circumstances meant JEV benefited from it is like suggesting that criminals should be jugged to a penalty one step more severe, if one criminal was judged too lightly relative the crime. The law is the law is the law. It should fit the severity of the crime as it is written in the law codex, not by how the outcome turned to be.

    Did you forget, that JEV was extremely lucky that Bottas had his steering problems that worsened his tire wear and made him very slow until he fell off a cliff. Otherwise JEV might’ve ended somewhere in that pack and consequently, by virtue of his 5-sec penalty, out of the points altogether?

    1. @montreal95 Regardless of whether it was the correct penalty in Vergne’s case – and the comment doesn’t take a position on that – if a penalty is going to be an effective deterrent to breaking the rules it needs to be sufficiently severe. Given the significant differences we often see in tyre performance, it’s not impossible we could see a situation where a driver would prefer to go off the track, pass a rival and take a light five-second penalty, than spend a stint stuck behind that rival and lose far more time.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        30th September 2014, 9:26

        @keithcollantine, when there is a significant difference in tyre performance, then there is no need to go off track. e.g. Perez overtook 10 cars in the last 15 laps on better tyres – all ‘on track’.

        A driver would only need to ‘opt’ for overtaking off track when the (tyre) difference is not that big, and then it will be much more difficult to pull off the 5sec.

        Nothing is impossible, but it does not appear that this is the new strategy for drivers!

        1. @coldfly your point would be more valid if Perez hadn’t run over his own front wing and was helped by the subsequent Safety Car period to get into that position in the first place.

    2. @montreal95 other Keith summed up what i was saying quite nicely ;) I understand, and support the concept of a smaller penalty for minor infractions – because a drive through penalty in previous years almost certainly ruined the driver’s race. But i’m not sure the current time penalties are doing the job as well as they could. For example, the 5 second penalty given to Magnussen in Monza dropped him from 6th to 10th, almost completely destroying his race, while the same penalty to JEV in Singapore made no difference whatsoever.

      I think there’s other solutions they could look at, like limiting a post-race 5 second penalty to one position loss – which i think would be fairer in the Magnussen case. I’m not sure how to tweak the rule to make it fair in a JEV scenario – ideally he would be instructed to give the position back immediately if the pass was deemed to be illegal. A straight “one position penalty” if the driver cannot serve his 5 second penalty at a pit stop might be ok but could be quite severe if a driver were leading the race by around 20 seconds.

      1. @keithcollantine @keithedin Again I must respectfully disagree with both of you, Keiths :)

        Throughout this year the outcomes of 5-sec penalties, had varied consequences. From very severe loss of positions(Magnussen), to a net gain of positions(JEV). That’s just the nature of the beast. You cannot predict everything and you cannot regulate everything. What’s the alternative? To again over-complicate the already over-complicated rules?

        Afterall, that’s not the first, neither the 20th time a driver got lucky because of regulations. I remember Ferrari getting very cross with the FIA when Hamilton managed to serve a drive-through without losing a position. He got lucky there. The next race after that at Silverstone, Alonso got unlucky that he hadn’t managed to serve his drive-thru before the Safety car came out, so he had to do it after the restart and so went to the bottom of the pack. Had the safety car came out half a minute later he would be fine. My point is: these things happen and are part of the sport(every sport in fact not just F1).

  14. I think what Sutil means is that Sauber won’t go fast enough to generate enough downforce to take 130R flat out.

  15. For Mercedes and possibly RBR and Ferrari, 130R will be flat out in the race and possibly flat out in qualifying.

  16. i think Sutil is right. the Sauber will struggle to go flat out in 130R. but most of the teams wont have a problem. i think if Sutil drove the red Bull or Mercedes he would be surpirsed how much downforce they have.

  17. I think it was Sutil who spoke first for Eau Rouge not being flat-out as well.

    While Eau Rouge was indeed not flat-out for even the Mercs in race trim (I remember Lewis’ quirky dummy when he told the team over the radio describing his loss of downforce from the Rosberg incident that ‘I even have to lift in Eau Rouge’ when clearly everybody else had to lift, including Rosberg, but perhaps wanting to urge his title rival into thinking he may do it flat out and then making a mistake), I fully expect 130R to remain so – in the race as well – barring a tow situation – but then again, even Blanchimont is not always flat out in a tow, it wasn’t even pre-2014.

    In retrospect, I think Eau Rouge may have had been flat out in quali if it wasn’t for the rain.

    On a sidenote, considering the intense development in F1, I think Eau Rouge will once again become flat-out next year – sadly. This year was exceptional in a positive way – that little confidence lift was always there on the onboard shots.

  18. I think 130R will be easy flat.

    Afterall they were taking it flat back in 2003 (Including on heavy fuel in the race) & even with the downforce reductions this year there’s no way the cars have less downforce than they did in 2003.

    The old 130R (Used until 2002) would be a challenge but the modern corner…. I just don’t see it been anything but flat.

Comments are closed.