After a fairly soporific Russian GP the circus moves nearly 7,000 miles (by road according to Bing maps) to Suzuka in Japan. The Japanese have a love affair with the automobile and Japanese car companies make up 4 of the top 15 car manufacturers in the world with Toyota top of the list, just above VW. Japan also has a long association with Formula One. Many Japanese manufacturers have made cars and engines which have raced in F1, with varying degrees of success. Honda prepared a car and engine in the 60’s and Richie Ginther won the Mexican GP in 1965. They had further success in 1968 when John Surtees won the Italian GP but the team withdrew from racing after the death of Jo Schlesser in a car with a magnesium chassis caught fire quite horrifically. Honda came back as an engine supplier in the 80’s and pretty much wiped the floor with everyone with their motor bolted in the back of the Williams and McLaren chassis. Yamaha and Subaru have made engines and Toyota and Honda coupled their motors to their own chassis in the early 2000’s, albeit with little success (I just remembered Button's win in Hungary with the Honda engine - sorry Jenson fans, what a lovely day that was) I don’t think I need to remind anyone of the Honda’s latest foray into the world of F1 engine supply. Japan has also supplied the grid with 20 drivers. The first was Hiroshi Fushido in 1975 with the Japanese made Maki chassis coupled to the inevitable Cosworth DFV. The most successful Japanese F1 driver is Kamui Kobayashi who amassed 125 points in his career as well as taking a podium in Japan for Sauber in 2012 and fastest lap in the same year in China. Two other Japanese drivers have stood on the podium, Takumo Sato at Indianapolis in 2004, the Michelin tyre debacle, and Aguri Suzuki for Larousse in Japan in 1990, the one with the infamous crash between Prost and Senna at the first corner. So what of the race itself? Lewis Hamilton goes in to the final phase of events with a healthy lead in the Championship and Mercedes showed in Russia that they will do anything to ensure that their man takes the drivers title. The constructor’s title is already pretty much nailed on for the Stuttgart team so expect team orders to come in to play if Lewis finds himself behind Valterri Bottas at any point during the race. What of the rest? Ferrari looks to have peaked before the summer break and are now on their way down. Red Bull may well figure close to the front but I doubt they can beat the Mercedes. Back in division 2 we should see some racing between Hass, Force India and the Sauber of Le Clerc which might compensate a little for the Silver Arrows running away at the front. It will be an early start with Qualifying at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and the race starting at 6:10 in the morning on Sunday but at least you will have the rest of the day to something after the inevitable Mercedes 1-2.