After a tense race in Singapore threw the 2014 drivers’ title fight wide open, the Formula 1 circus heads to one of the most celebrated and iconic circuits on the calendar for the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, live on BBC One and Sky Sports F1.
Suzuka is a firm favourite of the drivers thanks to its challenging high-speed corners and unusual figure-of-eight configuration, coupled with the thousands of fanatical Japanese fans who descend on the circuit over the three days to get up close to their heroes.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel has won four of the five races since it returned to Suzuka in 2009, but the German has struggled this season and instead it has been Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton who have dominated the standings.
While not the season finale of old, the Japanese Grand Prix is the 15th round of this season’s 19 races and instead marks the beginning of the end game in this hotly contested championship fight between the Mercedes drivers.
The Suzuka circuit has staged a number of title-deciding and lifetime-defining races, which has seen the venue stage its fair share of controversy over the years.
It is perhaps most renowned for staging some of the most remarkable moments in the legendary rivalry between former teammates Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, with the pair involved in two infamous collisions in 1989 and 1990, the first of which led to the Frenchman clinching the championship while the Brazilian claimed the second.
The current season has been dominated by the similarly tense feud between Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, with the Briton now leading the drivers’ standings following two successive wins in Monza and Singapore, though the manor of victory in Italy caused conspiracy theorists to blow a gasket.
Trailing Rosberg after a disastrous start, Hamilton was able to pass the German, who missed the first chicane not once but twice, with the simple explanation that Rosberg made mistakes under pressure, but that hasn’t satisfied some pundits.
It has been suggested that the apparent errors were ordered by Mercedes as a way of punishing Rosberg for colliding with Hamilton at the previous race in Belgium.
Whatever the truth, Rosberg failed to finish in Singapore last time around and the German saw his 22 point lead in the championship turn into a three-point deficit to Hamilton.
Neither driver comes to Suzuka with a particularly stellar record, but both have everything to play for this weekend with just five more races to go until the season concludes in Abu Dhabi next month.
For the past few seasons, Suzuka has been a Red Bull circuit and off the back of a double podium result in Singapore, the reigning world champions have the potential to influence the battle at the top of this year’s standings.
Formula 1 fans will not want to miss a second of the action at Suzuka, which always seems to provide one of the most entertaining and exciting races of any grand prix season.
You can follow all the action from the 15th round of the 2014 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season on both BBC Sport and Sky Sports F1.
SOTB’s viewing guide to the 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix below:
BBC Sport will broadcast the entire 2014 Japanese Grand Prix weekend live on free-to-air television across BBC One and BBC Two as the season reaches round 15 in Suzuka.
Live coverage begins in the early hours of Friday morning with the first free practice session on BBC Two, followed by the second session at breakfast time, while Practice three is also live on BBC Two on early Saturday morning.
Then on Saturday and Sunday, BBC One and BBC One HD brings fans live coverage of the must-see qualifying session and the race itself, with the qualifying session starting at 6.00am and the race getting underway on Sunday at 7.00am, but for those who would prefer a lie-in, full re-runs of both sessions will be broadcast after 1.00pm on BBC One.
Suzi Perry presents BBC TV’s coverage from the Suzuka circuit across weekend where she will be joined by David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan and Allan McNish, all of whom will be on hand to provide lively analysis and discussion in the pits and paddock.
During the lengthy qualifying and race build-ups there will be plenty of new features and interviews to keep viewers informed and entertained, including David Coulthard’s grid-walk on race day.
Commentary comes from Ben Edwards and Coulthard, with Lee McKenzie and Tom Clarkson providing pit-lane updates and conduct interviews with the drivers and team personnel.
BBC Sport’s popular F1 Forum, presented by Suzi Perry, follows the conclusion of the BBC One race transmission on the BBC Red Button and online at 9.15am.
The BBC Sport website will have live streaming of all live BBC TV broadcasts, as well as additional live video content during including extra feeds such as driver tracker, on-board cameras, pits channel and a choice of commentary, plus interviews and analysis.
All of the BBC’s TV coverage will be available to view shortly after transmission on BBC iPlayer.
BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will also have live audio commentary of every on-track session from Suzuka with Jack Nicholls, Jennie Gow and Allan McNish.
Friday 3rd October Free Practice 1 – Start: 02:00 LIVE: 1.50am-3.40am BBC Two Free Practice 2 – Start: 06:00 LIVE: 5.55am-7.35am BBC Two Saturday 4th October Free Practice 3 – Start: 03:00 LIVE: 2.55am-4.05am BBC Two Qualifying – Start: 06:00 LIVE: 5.00am-7.30am BBC One Re-Run: 1.00pm-2.30pm BBC One Sunday 5th October JAPANESE GRAND PRIX – Race Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.00am-9.15am BBC One Post-Race Forum: 9.15am-10.15am BBC Red Button Re-Run: 1.15pm-3.15pm BBC One Highlights: 7.00pm-7.55pm BBC Three
The teams head to the famous Suzuka circuit for the Japanese Grand Prix and Sky Sports F1 will have its usual extensive live coverage.
The race will be shown live and uninterrupted on Sunday morning, along with the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday, all on Sky Sports F1, with numerous full session replays throughout the day giving fans the best chance to catch-up on all the early-morning action.
Simon Lazenby will anchor Sky Sports F1’s comprehensive live coverage throughout the weekend where he will be joined by regulars Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson.
Ted Kravitz will provide the latest news and reports and from the pit lane, with further reports and driver interviews from Rachel Brookes.
Commentary on all sessions comes from David Croft, with Martin Brundle joining him for both qualifying and the race, with Anthony Davidson calling the practice sessions, as well as providing his unique insights via the Sky Pad during the weekend.
The F1 Show live from the Suzuka pits this week is a team principal’s special, building up to the race weekend on Friday morning at 10.00am, hosted by Rachel Brookes and David Croft.
During the race, a host of interactive additions, including on-board cameras, pit-lane feeds, the latest race stats and much more available via the red button and the Sky Sports for iPad app.
For those who won’t be at home, every second of the action can be seen via computers, laptops, mobiles and tablet devices on Sky Go.
Friday 3rd October Free Practice 1 – Start: 02:00 LIVE: 1.45am-3.50am Sky Sports F1 Free Practice 2 – Start: 06:00 LIVE: 5.45am-8.00am Sky Sports F1 The F1 Show: Team Bosses Special LIVE: 10.00am-11.00am Sky Sports F1 Saturday 4th October Free Practice 3 – Start: 03:00 LIVE: 2.45am-4.15am Sky Sports F1 Qualifying – Start: 06:00 LIVE: 5.00am-7.45am Sky Sports F1 Sunday 5th October JAPANESE GRAND PRIX – Race Start: 07:00 Track Parade: 5.30am-6.00am Sky Sports F1 RACE LIVE: 6.00am-9.30am Sky Sports F1 Paddock Live: 9.30am-10.15am Sky Sports F1 Highlights: 12.15pm-1.15pm Sky Sports F1 . . .