Thursday, November 21, 2013

Two More Great Circuits

Earlier I posted that I try not to miss the Monaco and Belgian Grands Prix.  Monaco for its ambience, but more for its nearly unchanged layout.  And, although Spa-Francorchamps was radically shortened in its new layout, it still has the daunting Eau Rouge, Raidillon, and Blanchimont corners.  For that matter, the new infield segment of the circuit respects the character of Old Spa and adds the equally daunting Pouhon.

Lately, I find myself trying not to miss Suzuka in Japan and Interlagos in Brazil as well.  And for the same reasons.  Both courses challenge even the best drivers.  I missed Suzuka this year, but won't miss Brazil this weekend.  It matters not that the World Championship was decided a month ago and that Sebastian Vettel will probably win again.  Racing on these courses is interesting compared to the cookie-cutter venues that have come on line in the past few years.

Until it was pointed out on TV, I failed to note that Suzuka has almost the same number of right and left-hand corners
because of the underpass in the middle.  It has a couple of famous corners too: Spoon, in which multiple and
decreasing radii feed into an off-camber exit leading onto the long Back Stretch; and 130R, which is flat out
or nearly so in a modern F-1 car.

Interlagos has a lot of swoopy elevation changes too.  The turns 1-2-3 complex is easy and tempting to over-drive,
with Turn 1 being off-camber into the bargain.  So there's a lot of "over-under" passing when a lead car gets into
Turn 1 too hot.  The long uphill run from Bico de Pato to the pit straight provides some fine video too.

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