It is the venue where F1 folklore has been written and another chapter was written today.
The Japanese GP at Suzuka witnessed those epic tussles between Prost and Senna in 1989 and 1990. It witnessed an emotional World Championship win for Damon Hill in 1996. It was also the venue for World Championship success for Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher. Amidst such an illustrious list, it is apt that Sebastian Vettel today won his second consecutive F1 crown at the circuit by the fairground today.
It had been written on the wall for much of the season and today, with 4 races yet to go, he has made a mockery of his world class opposition by sealing a historic back-to-back Championship win.
Should we complain at this relative procession though? Absolutely not. I've heard a few moans that this season hasn't been as close and exciting championship wise as in recent years but that should not take away from Vettel's achievement. He has shown himself to be a class above this year and has confirmed his own credentials as one of the best of his generation.
In his victorious quest, Vettel has out-gunned former World Champions Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
With 5 World Champions on the track, we really are living through a golden era of F1. The fact that 2011 did not see a final race showdown only demonstrates how well Vettel has done against such stern opposition. Indeed, this is now the exception rather than the norm. In 2006 (Alonso), 2007 (Raikonnen), 2008 (Hamilton) and 2010 (Vettel), the championship went to the wire. In 2009, Button only secured the title in the penultimate race. So this is the earliest Championship win since 2004.
When I was growing up throughout the 1990s, a last race championship decider was a rare and relative luxury - nowadays, we have had a wealth of last race nail biters to enjoy. So let's not worry too much that on this occasion the championship has been decided early.
Youngest ever double World Champion
So let's look more at what has just been achieved.
But Vettel has done more than that. By winning two World Championships back-to-back, he joins an even more exclusive list by becoming only the 9th driver to have done so - along with Ascari, Fangio, Brabham, Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen and Alonso.
He will look at 2012 as an opportunity to really cement his place in the history books. If he can win a 3rd consecutive championship, he will match a feat only previously accomplished by Fangio and Schumacher.
It's a big ask and one which Hakkinen and Alonso failed to achieve in 2000 and 2007 respectively. But Vettel, in that Germanic Schumacher mold has something about him. In my opinion he is truly world class and at such a young age, has the ability in my mind to challenge some of those records that Schumacher set during the past 20 years.
It's a big ask but of all of the drivers on the grid, I sense that Vettel is the one more than any other, who can do so.
Time will tell but in the meantime, warm congratlations to Seb on today's fantastic achievement.