The 2019 finale of the Super Formula Championship heads to Suzuka for an exciting battles involving five drivers.
Naoki Yamamoto, Nick Cassidy, Alex Palou, Kenta Yamashita and Kamui Kobayashi all hold a chance of claiming the title.
Separated by ten points and with 14 available, its anyone’s guess as to which driver will end up on top.
Furthermore, six drivers have won from as many races this year, adding another element of unpredictability.
The Title Contenders
With fours wins from the last six Super Formula races at Suzuka, Naoki Yamamoto is the favourite to retain the championship crown.
After a maiden F1 voyage during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, Yamamoto will be determined to prove his credentials following a recent drop in form.
Just a point behind is Nick Cassidy, who lost the championship lead in Okayama after a late incident with Kamui Kobayashi.
In a recent interview with Racing Blog, Cassidy explained his intentions to show the same level of aggression in Suzuka:
“What happened with Kamui was just racing. To be honest, I would do the same again,” Cassidy said.
“My right front wheel touched his sideboard. I spun and lost the car. That was just hard racing.”
Like Yamamoto, Cassidy holds a strong record at Suzuka and won the season opener there back in April.
In that same race, series rookie Alex Palou was on course for victory before an engine failure resulted in retirement.
Since then, the Spaniard has impressed many courtesy of two pole positions and an dominant triumph at Fuji Speedway.
Palou is in a great position to become champion and is only four points behind Yamamoto in the standings.
Toyota-backed drivers Kenta Yamashita and Kamui Kobayashi both hold chances of taking the title this Sunday at Suzuka.
However, the pair will need a win and hope the trio of Yamamoto, Cassidy and Palou experience severe problems on race day.
It's season finale week! The 19th #JAFGP Suzuka sees an exciting 5-way battle for the title. Who will become the 2019 @SUPER_FORMULA champion? Here's how the eligible drivers Naoki Yamamoto, @NickCassidy_, @AlexPalou, @kentayamashitaa and @kamui_kobayashi have to finish #sformula pic.twitter.com/fTjP5yyFXQ
— geinou (@geinou) October 21, 2019
Vips Replaces O’Ward for Suzuka Finale
Red Bull junior Juri Vips will replace Patricio O’Ward at Team Mugen for the final race of the Super Formula campaign.
The 19-year-old Estonian has won three times for Hitech Grand Prix in Formula 3 this season, finishing fourth in the Drivers’ standings.
Despite this, Vips is a few points shy of an F1 Super Licence and could join the series full-time in 2020.
Consequently, the decision has left O’Ward without a drive and his future plans remains unclear.
👀⬇️ 👀⬇️ pic.twitter.com/TTnalwPC1T
— Patricio O'Ward (@PatricioOWard) October 18, 2019
The reigning Indy Lights champion emerged as an unlikely replacement for Dan Ticktum, who was sacked earlier this year after poor performances.
O’Ward has since been linked to a return to IndyCar with the McLaren SP team for 2020.
Super Formula Coverage
Both Let’s Go Racing and motorsport.tv will be broadcasting the Super Formula finale live via their respective platforms.
Coverage on both channels is estimated to start at 6am BST.
Who do you believe will win the Super Formula Championship? Let us know in the comments below!