F1 2020 setup guide overview – Japan
The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka is one of the oldest circuits on the Formula 1 calendar. It consists of sweeping corners and requires a perfectly balanced car setup. Those drivers who have created a responsive, well balanced Suzuka setup will have the best platform to succeed around this very difficult circuit.
Suzuka is a track which requires a lot of aerodynamic performance to ensure your car is quick through the first and middle sector. However the last sector of the track consists of a long straight down to the flat out corner of 130r. And then immediately after the final chicane, there is another lengthy straight across the start finish line.
These long straights in the final sector means we can’t run too much aerodynamics for our Suzuka setup. Keep your front and rear aero fairly balanced. You can lower it just a little.
This will give you a responsive front end to get you through the quick direction changes of the esses. The rear downforce will help your car stay stable and balanced while applying throttle through the first two sectors.
Suzuka is a track that is notoriously hard on your tyres. The long medium speed corners put a lot of strain through your car, and tend to heat your tyres quickly. If this isn’t managed, you will find yourself running out of rubber during a long race.
Most of this tyre wear will be at the front of the car as your car leans on its front left and right tyres. This means we can run a reasonably high on-throttle differential. There aren’t too many heavy traction zones at Suzuka, so rear tyre wear isn’t as much of a problem.
The suspension geometry is the part of our F1 2020 Japan setup where we will look to protect our front tyre wear. We would suggest running the camber at a fairly high negative angle. This will ensure that our car leans in to the tyre without dragging it across the surface.
You should also increase the toe angle. This will result in an ever so slight reduction of top speed, but the decreased tyre wear is much more important.
This style of setup will help your tyre wear during a race. It will negatively affect some responsiveness, however the rest of the setup makes up for that.
As we mentioned at the start, Suzuka requires a very balanced setup. This means perfect balance between car responsiveness and stability. We will keep our suspension setup reasonably close to default.
This ensures the car is soft enough to absorb the uneven surface, but responsive enough to handle the quick direction changes. This balanced suspension setup will once again, help our tyre wear throughout a race.
We would suggest lowering your ride height to around 4. You can decrease your front by one extra if you find you aren’t getting enough turn in to the corners. We wouldn’t lower it any further than this, as you will start to bottom out on the rough surface of the Japanese track.
There are only a couple of heavy braking zones around Suzuka, with the rest of the braking zones fairly short and sharp. We wont want too high brake pressure, as we need to ensure our fronts are not locking through the twisty sectors of track.
Keep your brake pressure in the low 80’s and your brake bias around 56 for a nice balanced setup. This will give you the best trade off of braking stability and braking performance.
With the quick direction changes and long corners, our first thought would be to increase the front tyre pressures to give better responsiveness. We need to be careful when making this increase to not overheat the tyres too much.
To give the best trade off, we would suggest a conservative increase of only a one click, to around 23.4. This gives a little extra performance without hindering your tyre wear too much. You can also increase the rear pressures in line.
How To Best Drive The Japanese Grand Prix Circuit in F1 2020
Suzuka is a very tricky circuit to master. It requires an outstanding understanding of the track, and a continuous flow through all the corners. If you step off the racing line through any of the winding corners, you will be compromising the next few corners that follow.
The track surface is also surprisingly narrow. There is just about enough room for cars to go two wide, but you need ultimate precision throughout a lap. Due to the speed of the track, if you do put a wheel off track, you will quickly find yourself heading for a high speed accident.
Overtaking is very tricky around Suzuka. The main overtaking opportunity comes into the final chicane, as this is the heaviest braking zone on the lap. You should try to master spoon corner to get the best exit on to the long straight. Then brake late into the chicane. There is enough room to brake late, run a wider racing line and still recover before the pit straight.
You can also overtake in to the hairpin of turn 11. Drivers don’t expect to be attacked through here, so if you send a late move down the inside, you can make up a cheeky place or two.