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Japanese Grand Prix

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Flag of Japan.svg Japanese Grand Prix
Suzuka Circuit
Circuit Suzuka.png
Laps 53
Circuit length 5.807 km (3.608 miles)
Race length 307.573 km (191.117 miles)
Most wins by single driver Template:Country flagicon Michael Schumacher (6)
Most wins by single constructor Template:Country flagicon McLaren (8)
Last race (2009):
Winner Template:Country flagicon Sebastian Vettel
Winning constructor Red Bull-Renault
Winning time 1h 28m 20.443s
(208.900 km/h)
Pole time 1:32.160
Pole driver Template:Country flagicon Sebastian Vettel
Pole constructor Red Bull-Renault
Fastest lap 1:32.569
Fastest lap driver Template:Country flagicon Mark Webber
Fastest lap constructor Red Bull-Renault

The Japanese Grand Prix (日本グランプリ, Nihon-guranpuri) is a race in the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Traditionally one of the last, if not the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix has been the venue for many title-deciding races, with 12 World Champions being crowned over the 24 Japanese Grands Prix that have been hosted.

The first two Japanese Grands Prix in 1976 and 1977 were held at the Fuji Speedway, before Japan was taken off the calendar. It returned in 1987 at Suzuka, who hosted the Grand Prix exclusively for 20 years and gained a reputation as one of the most challenging F1 circuits. In 2007 the Grand Prix moved back to the newly redesigned Fuji Speedway. After a second race at Fuji in 2008, the race returns to Suzuka in 2009.

The Japanese Grand Prix was supposed to continue alternating between Fuji Speedway and Suzuka Circuit, owned by perennial rivals Toyota and Honda, respectively. There had been speculation that both tracks would host Grands Prix, with the readoption of the Pacific Grand Prix moniker used by the TI Circuit when it hosted Grands Prix in 1994 and 1995.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The race made Japan one of only six countries to host more than one Grand Prix in the same season (the others being Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Italy and the USA). It was discontinued primarily due to its location in a remote area of Japan.

In July 2009, Toyota announced it would not host the race at Fuji Speedway in 2010 and beyond due to a downturn in the global economy.<ref>Toyota's Fuji Speedway Cancels Formula One Grand Prix From 2010 Bloomberg.com, retrieved 22-12-2009</ref>

History

Inaugural races

The first Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, in 1976, was held at the Fuji Speedway, 40 mi west of Yokohama. The race was to become famous for the title decider between James Hunt and Niki Lauda as it was held during monsoon conditions. Lauda, who had survived a near-fatal crash at the German Grand Prix earlier in the season, withdrew from the race stating that his life was more important than the championship. Hunt scored the 3rd position he needed to win the title by the slender margin of one point. Hunt returned the next year to win the second Japanese Grand Prix, but a collision between Gilles Villeneuve and Ronnie Peterson during the race saw Villeneuve's Ferrari somersault into a restricted area, killing two spectators.<ref>{{#if:

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Return to Japan at Suzuka

On Formula 1's return to Japan in 1987, the Grand Prix found a new venue at Suzuka Circuit, 80 km south west of Nagoya. The circuit, set inside a funfair, was designed by Dutchman John Hugenholtz and owned by Honda, who used it as a test track. Most notable initially for its layout—Suzuka is the only figure-eight race track to appear on the F1 calendar—immediately it saw another World Title decided, as Nigel Mansell injured himself when he crashed his Williams-Honda in practice and consequently could not start the race, effectively handing the title to his team-mate Nelson Piquet.

Suzuka will always be chiefly remembered, however, for the legendary feud between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. During the 1989 Grand Prix, Senna tried to overtake Prost to keep his Championship hopes alive, only for Prost to shut the door as he had stated before the race, saying he would not be giving up the position simply for McLaren not to be embarrassed by a double retirement. Prost was beached and got out of his car promptly, knowing he had won the championship whilst Senna got a push from the marshals. It was deemed, however, that he had cut the chicane and eventually disqualified after making his way up to the lead and being first on the track. He was infuriated by the decision, as shown in a video of the pre-race drivers' briefing the following year<ref>YouTube - Broadcast Yourself</ref>, as fellow driver Nelson Piquet argued it was dangerous for a driver to go against the traffic just to make the chicane. At the ensuing 1990 Japanese Grand Prix, Senna mimicked Prost's statement of the previous year saying he would not move over if Prost attempted to overtake in the first corner — Senna started at pole, with Prost second (albeit on the racing line) —, resulting in the two crashing out and thus handing Senna his second world championship. Both drivers have been accused of crashing into the other deliberately and thus the two situations as well as their comments after both incidents have tainted both driver's reputations in the eyes of most but die hard fans.

From its return to the Formula One calendar in 1987, the Japanese Grand Prix was one of the most popular with spectators. For the 1990 race, three million fans entered a draw for the 120,000 available tickets, due to the popularity of Honda's world championship successes as an engine supplier to the Williams and McLaren teams, and the fact that the country had produced its first full-time F1 driver in the shape of Satoru Nakajima. After Nakajima's retirement in 1991 and Honda's withdrawal from competition the following year, interest went into decline despite the addition of the Pacific Grand Prix to the F1 calendar, an event also held in Japan during the 1994 and 1995 seasons. The 1995 Japanese Grand Prix was the first for which the allocated tickets did not sell out.<ref name=F1Ypg203>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Subsequently, the appearance of new Japanese drivers such as Takuma Sato and the entry of Honda and Toyota as full manufacturer teams has restored the event to its former popularity.

The late 20th and early 21st century have seen a number of other, rather more sporting duels for the Championship at Suzuka, most memorably those between Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen. The most notable of these was at the 2000 race, where Schumacher took advantage of his superior speed in damp conditions during a mid-race rain shower to secure the race win and his first World Title for Ferrari — his third in all.

At the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher endured one of the most trying races in his career — needing to come at least eighth, he started at fourteenth on the grid — but managed to secure the point he needed to take his sixth World Championship, beating the record held by Juan Manuel Fangio. At the 2006 event Michael Schumacher led until an engine failure virtually ended his chances of an eighth championship.

The qualifying session for the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix, due to have been held on 9 October, was postponed until race day after a typhoon hit Suzuka. This led to the idea of holding qualifying sessions on a Sunday morning (an idea that was abandoned half-way through the following year). The 2005 race was one of the most exciting races of the season after many top drivers started near the back of the grid after the qualifying in variable weather. Kimi Räikkönen won the race after starting from 17th place, overtaking Giancarlo Fisichella at the beginning of the last lap.

Alternation between Suzuka and Fuji

It was announced on March 24, 2006 by the FIA that future races will again be held at the redesigned Fuji Speedway in the Shizuoka Prefecture<ref>{{#if: Suzuka loses Japanese GP to Fuji

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On 8 September 2007, it was announced that Fuji will alternate the Japanese Grand Prix with Suzuka, starting from 2009 onwards.<ref>The Official Formula 1 Website</ref>

The 2007 race was held in torrential rain and started behind the safety car. Lewis Hamilton took the victory while his team-mate Fernando Alonso crashed heavily. Heikki Kovalainen finished 2nd, his best result until that date and Kimi Räikkönen 3rd, marking the first time that two Finnish drivers were together on the podium.

In 2008, the first corner brought troubles for the McLarens and the Ferraris, and Fernando Alonso was able to take win in a Renault. Felipe Massa was 7th after a penalty for a collision with title rival Lewis Hamilton, while Hamilton finished outside the points, having also served a penalty for an incident in the first corner.

Fuji Speedway withdraws

In July 2009, Toyota cited a global economic slump as the reason that the Japanese Grand Prix would not return to Fuji Speedway in 2010 and beyond. The speedway argued, according to the Associated Press, that "continuing to host F1 races could threaten the survival of the company." As a result, the 2010 Grand Prix will be held at Suzuka.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Sponsors

Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix 1987-present

Winners of the Japanese Grand Prix

Repeat winners (drivers)

Embolded drivers are competing in the Formula One championship in the current season.</br> A pink background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.

Number of wins Driver Years
6 Template:Country flagicon Michael Schumacher 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004
2 Template:Country flagicon Motoharu Kurosawa 1969, 1973
Template:Country flagicon Gerhard Berger 1987, 1991
Template:Country flagicon Ayrton Senna 1988, 1993
Template:Country flagicon Damon Hill 1994, 1996
Template:Country flagicon Mika Häkkinen 1998, 1999
Template:Country flagicon Fernando Alonso 2006, 2008

Repeat winners (constructors)

Embolded teams are competing in the Formula One championship in the current season.</br> A pink background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.

# of wins Constructor Years won
8 Template:Country flagicon McLaren 1977, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2007
7 Template:Country flagicon Ferrari 1987, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
3 Template:Country flagicon Benetton 1989, 1990, 1995
Template:Country flagicon Williams 1992, 1994, 1996
2 Template:Country flagicon Porsche 1964, 1967
Template:Country flagicon Nissan 1968, 1969
Template:Country flagicon Lotus 1963, 1976
Template:Country flagicon Renault 2006, 2008

By year

Events which were not part of the Formula One World Championship are indicated by a pink background.

Year Driver Constructor Location Report
2009 Template:Country flagicon Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault Suzuka Report
2008 Template:Country flagicon Fernando Alonso Renault Fuji Report
2007 Template:Country flagicon Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes Fuji Report
2006 Template:Country flagicon Fernando Alonso Renault Suzuka Report
2005 Template:Country flagicon Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes Suzuka Report
2004 Template:Country flagicon Michael Schumacher Ferrari Suzuka Report
2003 Template:Country flagicon Rubens Barrichello Ferrari Suzuka Report
2002 Template:Country flagicon Michael Schumacher Ferrari Suzuka Report
2001 Template:Country flagicon Michael Schumacher Ferrari Suzuka Report
2000 Template:Country flagicon Michael Schumacher Ferrari Suzuka Report
1999 Template:Country flagicon Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes Suzuka Report
1998 Template:Country flagicon Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes Suzuka Report
1997 Template:Country flagicon Michael Schumacher Ferrari Suzuka Report
1996 Template:Country flagicon Damon Hill Williams-Renault Suzuka Report
1995 Template:Country flagicon Michael Schumacher Benetton-Renault Suzuka Report
1994 Template:Country flagicon Damon Hill Williams-Renault Suzuka Report
1993 Template:Country flagicon Ayrton Senna McLaren-Ford Suzuka Report
1992 Template:Country flagicon Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault Suzuka Report
1991 Template:Country flagicon Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda Suzuka Report
1990 Template:Country flagicon Nelson Piquet Benetton-Ford Suzuka Report
1989 Template:Country flagicon Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford Suzuka Report
1988 Template:Country flagicon Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda Suzuka Report
1987 Template:Country flagicon Gerhard Berger Ferrari Suzuka Report
1986

1978
Not held
1977 Template:Country flagicon James Hunt McLaren-Ford Fuji Report
1976 Template:Country flagicon Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford Fuji Report
1976 Template:Country flagicon Jacques Laffite BMW Fuji Report
1975 Template:Country flagicon Masahiro Hasemi March Fuji Report
1974 Not held
1973 Template:Country flagicon Motoharu Kurosawa March Fuji Report
1972 Template:Country flagicon John Surtees Surtees Fuji Report
1971 Template:Country flagicon Kuniomi Nagamatsu Mitsubishi Fuji Report
1970 Not held
1969 Template:Country flagicon Motoharu Kurosawa Nissan Fuji Report
1968 Template:Country flagicon Moto Kitano Nissan Fuji Report
1967 Template:Country flagicon Tetsu Ikuzawa Porsche Fuji Report
1966 Template:Country flagicon Yoshikazu Sunako Prince Fuji Report
1965 Not held
1964 Template:Country flagicon Soukichi Shikiba Porsche Suzuka Report
1963 Template:Country flagicon Peter Warr Lotus-Cosworth Suzuka Report

See Also

Races in the Formula One championship:

Current

BahrainTemplate:· AustralianTemplate:· MalaysianTemplate:· ChineseTemplate:· SpanishTemplate:· MonacoTemplate:· TurkishTemplate:· CanadianTemplate:· EuropeanTemplate:· BritishTemplate:· GermanTemplate:· HungarianTemplate:· BelgianTemplate:· ItalianTemplate:· SingaporeTemplate:· JapaneseTemplate:· KoreanTemplate:· BrazilianTemplate:· Abu Dhabi

Future
(confirmed)

New: Indian (2011)Template:· Russian (2014)
Returning: USA (2012)

Former

ArgentineTemplate:· AustrianTemplate:· Caesars PalaceTemplate:· DallasTemplate:· DetroitTemplate:· DutchTemplate:· FrenchTemplate:· Indy 500Template:· LuxembourgTemplate:· MexicanTemplate:· MoroccanTemplate:· PacificTemplate:· PescaraTemplate:· PortugueseTemplate:· San MarinoTemplate:· South AfricanTemplate:· SwedishTemplate:· SwissTemplate:· USA West

External links