As I am American and have the game already, I can answer a few of these.
How is the new suspension handling?
It seems an important factor in the game. With better ability to take curbs and recover slides.
That sounds great fun :)
The handling model is totally updated from F1 2010 and is far more realistic. You can actually slide/drift the car, and with proper inputs, actually hold and recover slides.
Is the driving model as realistic as some describe? I mean, would you categorize it more as a simulator or as game? Is it closer to Forza Motorsport or to Dirt3?
I’ve never played Dirt 3 so I can’t speak on that, but I have played Forza and F1 2011 is far closer to Forza feel than F1 2010 was.
Can you now attack the kerbs in F1 2011? F1 2010 had these massive mourns which just spun you out every time you touch them at certain tracks.
You can attack the curbs, and I have yet to find one that is guaranteed to spin you out. Care must still be taken to not greatly upset the balance of the car while attacking them, however.
I was curious as to whether you are able to turn off penalties on the 2011 version. The 2010 version was far too sensitive in dishing out penalties, which, to be honest, ruined my enjoyment of the game.
I haven’t actually looked to see if you can turn the Penalties off completely (I’ve always kept them on in F1 2010 and have continued this on F1 2011), but I did see that the option is present, so I imagine you can.
Additionally, I have used both KERS and DRS and you can definitely tell the difference in how the car drives while using them. The first time I activated DRS (exiting Monza’s Parabolica in the new Time Attack mode), I spun out instantly. Using KERS there is a very noticeable boost of acceleration and the sound of the car actually changes a bit.
Regarding the varying release dates, new entertainment media (music, movies, video games) are always released here in the United States on Tuesday. I don’t actually know why but it’s been like that at least since I was a young child.