Super Formula is the top tier series in Japan with Formula cars, being similar to Formula 1 there, but in terms of where they sit on the ladder, they’re on par with FIA Formula 2. They’ve had many changes over the years, previously being known as Formula Nippon until 2012. There are many recognisable names over the years of Super Formula and it’s predecessors, but for their most recent championship, Naoki Yamamoto clinched the win against Ryō Hirakawa.
They’re one of the most prestigious series in Japan
The Super Formula weekend starts with a one hour practice session on the Saturday morning, which is followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Like Formula 1, their qualifying is split into three sessions, named “Q1”, “Q2” and “Q3”. The first session is ran over 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute interval. Q2 and Q3 are ran in seven minutes with a further 10 minute interval separating the two sessions. For the Sunday sessions, it starts off with a 30 minute practice session and then the race, which is held over a distance of 250km.
The Dallara SF19 is fitted with a 2.0L inline engine with four pistons, rather than the V engines we see in the European formulas. The car also has a six configurations in the gearbox, changed by paddle shifts. The Super Formula cars have a button to overtake, like Formula 1, where an extra 5kg/h can be released, increasing fuel flow to allow more combustion in the engine to gain extra power, allowing the driver to have an advantage to overtake against its competitor. Unlike European formulas, their tyres are supplied by Yokohama instead of Pirelli which we are used to seeing.
Points are also given for qualifying with the pole position driver being given 3, 2nd with 2 and 3rd with 1. The championship result is based on their best 5 positions, tallying towards their result.
Super License Points
40 points are required for a driver to apply for a super license to drive in a Formula 1 team, or 25 for a free practice license, allowing them to drive with a Formula 1 team during the first free practice of the weekend.
They drive on tracks we are familiar with because of Formula 1
Super Formula has had its range of drivers, especially with their predecessors. When it was called Formula 2000, there were drivers like Satoru Nakajima and Kunimitsu Takahashi. Come next era, the series was called Formula 3000 and they had the likes of Michael and Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine. Then more recently, we have the more familiar names of Stoffel Vandoorne, Loic Duval, Andre Lotterer, Pierre Gasly and Felix Rosenqvist. In their most recent season, they had drivers who we’ve covered or seen before like Tatiana Calderon, Sacha Fenestraz and Nick Cassidy.
It is possible to watch Super Formula in various ways: their Youtube channel, motorsport.com and more. You can check on their website at superformula.net/sf2/en/tv/.
Their 2021 calendar is as follows:
|Fuji Speedway||4 April|
|Suzuka International||25 April|
|Sportsland SUGO||20 June|
|Twin Ring Motegi||29 August|
|Okayama International||3 October|
|Suzuka International||31 October|
We hope that this was enough to get you interested into Super Formula and perhaps watch a few in the upcoming season. Tomorrow is our final post before the Christmas break, so come back at 5pm GMT for a round-off of our first year as a blog!