After a thrilling Singapore Grand Prix, racing continues for the Asian leg as we head to the iconic Suzuka track for the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.
Red Bull have a chance to wrap up the Constructors’ Title; achieving that at Honda’s home ground would be even more special.
Ahead of the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, here are our predictions.
Constructors’ to be wrapped up
In his career, whenever pushed back, Verstappen has always fought back stronger and in a ruthless manner. The Dutchman has also jokingly said that his target for Japan is to win by “at least 20 seconds”.
In Singapore, for the first time in the 2023 season, a Red Bull car didn’t finish on top of the podium. The car just wasn’t set up properly for a street circuit and to the drivers’ liking. Both Verstappen and Sergio Pérez struggled massively in Qualifying, especially with their modified front wings, but while the Mexican struggled on Sunday as well, Verstappen showcased strong race pace, especially on his second stint on the medium compounds, which saw him climb back from P11 to P5, inches away from stealing P4 from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Moving back to a more “normal” track in Suzuka, Red Bull once again have the advantage. Expect Verstappen to reign supreme in Japan and help Red Bull secure their fifth Constructors’ Championship.
Red Bull just need to make sure they outscore Mercedes in Japan and not get outscored by Ferrari by 24 or more points to secure the title.
Pole Prediction: Max Verstappen
Win Prediction: Red Bull
Ferrari can fight
Ferrari’s win in Singapore saw them ruin Red Bull’s plan of winning every race in the season. While the Austrian team have been a level above the rest of the grid, the Scuderia have had the pace to keep up with them, but due to their strategical, driver and mechanical issues, they have not been able to properly take the fight to Red Bull.
Ferrari finally have been able to put together a strong package and strategy, which have seen them take pole in the last two races in Italy and Singapore. They have finally shown that, not only can they keep up with Red Bull, they can even beat them.
The Singapore win bodes well for the Italian team going ahead. It will bring back the self-belief in Maranello that they can be contenders again. Expect Ferrari to do well due to the confidence gained over the last two races. They should be able to take the fight to Mercedes for the podium going into the final stage of the season.
The season started with Aston Martin looking like a shoo-in for the second place in the Constructors’ Championship as they took seven podium finishes from the opening eight races. Compared to their stellar start, McLaren had managed only two double points finishes in the same period.
This all changed, however, once the Woking-based team got their upgrades in Austria. Since then, only the Red Bull drivers have scored more points than McLaren’s Lando Norris, who has had three second-place finishes. Along with his rookie teammate Oscar Piastri, who is in his debut season and has been a revelation, Norris has done well to bring McLaren back in the Constructors’ fight. Meanwhile, for Aston Martin, only Fernando Alonso has been leading the charge.
Due to Aston Martin’s recent troubles, McLaren have been able to close down the gap to Aston Martin for the fourth place in the Constructors’ Standings.
The Suzuka track should suit both Aston Martin and McLaren, and both should be in the mix for a good haul of points.
Podium Predictions: McLaren / Aston Martin
Circuit: Suzuka Circuit
Venue: Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, Japan
Practice Session 1 time: 08:00 AM, September 22
Practice Session 2 time: 11:30 AM, September 22
Practice Session 3 time: 08:00 AM, September 23
Qualifying time: 11:30 AM, September 23
Main race time: 10:30 AM, September 24
Where to watch: F1 TV Pro
(All timings IST)