Mercedes pair Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have said they are excited about returning to Japan for next weekend's race at Suzuka, with both backing the circuit as one of the best on the F1 calendar.
Schumacher in particular has fond memories of the circuit having won on no fewer than six occasions in the past – including a run of three-in-a-row between 2000 and 2002.
The seven-time champion finished sixth last season on his return to the sport and he insisted that the challenging nature of the Suzuka circuit made the race one that the drivers always look forward to.
"Suzuka is a very special circuit, and one which has held great races, and great memories, for me over the years. I always enjoy the challenge of driving here and getting the technical set-up of the car right to get the best from the demanding layout of the track.
“A great first sector, high-speed turns, and interesting corner combinations all make Suzuka one of the best race tracks of the year, and definitely one of my favourites. We will be working hard to make the most of our weekend here, and hopefully we can come away with a strong performance and some more points."
Team-mate Rosberg, who was a late retirement from the race twelve months ago, added that the changes in regulations for this season – with the return of KERS and the introduction of DRS – would play an interesting part in the race.
"Suzuka is truly a great race track,” he said. “Personally I think it's one of the best circuits on the Formula One calendar, along with Spa, and one which every driver loves. The layout is very challenging with high-speed corners and difficult chicanes.
“In the past, overtaking has been really difficult here, so it will be interesting to see how the new rules affect the racing. I always love the atmosphere in Japan and the fans are really enthusiastic in their support. Let's hope we can put on a show for them and achieve a good result."