The Japanese Grand Prix has been staged over 40 times, though not all races have been part of the Formula 1 World Championship. A record 13 championships have been decided in Japan, largely due to the race having a late-season calendar slot for much of its existence.
Japanese Grand Prix History:
The Suzuka circuit has been home to the Japanese Grand Prix for all but two years since 1987. Its unique ‘figure of 8’ layout, which includes the fearsome 130R corner, has been host to many memorable F1 moments over the years, including several championship deciders.
The first (non-championship) race was held on the Suzuka Circuit in 1963, shortly after the circuit had been built by Honda. Over the years, the race has been shared by Suzuka and the Fuji Circuit, owned by Toyota. It was in Fuji that Japan first hosted a round of the F1 world championship in 1976. The race was run under atrocious wet conditions, as depicted in the film Rush. James Hunt finished third and was crowned world champion over his title rival Niki Lauda, who refused to risk his life in the treacherous conditions.
In April 2021, Formula 1 agreed a 3-year contract extension with Suzuka Circuit that will keep the Japanese Grand Prix on the calendar until at least 2024. The Japanese Grand Prix has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic in both 2020 and 2021, but the race is set to return to the Formula 1 calendar on October 7-9, 2022.
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Japanese Grand Prix Facts:
Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver at Suzuka, having recorded six victories between 1995-2004. Hot on his heels is Lewis Hamilton, who recorded his sixth Japanese Grand Prix victory in 2019. He has won five times at Suzuka and once at Fuji.
Ferrari and McLaren are the most successful teams at Suzuka, having won here seven times apiece.
Despite taking five victories in a row between 2000 and 2004, the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix remains Ferrari’s last win in the country.
Following Ayrton Senna’s disqualification, Alessandro Nannini was declared the winner of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in 1989, his one and only F1 victory.
Seventeen Japanese drivers have competed in Formula 1. The best result for a local driver on home soil was jointly recorded by Aguri Suzuki (3rd in 1990) and Kamui Kobayashi (3rd in 2012).
The 1993 Japanese Grand Prix saw Mika Hakkinen his first of 51 podium finishes in F1.
Suzuka and Fuji are not the only circuits in Japan to have hosted an F1 race. In 1994 and 1995, Okayama International Circuit (previously known as TI Circuit Aida) staged the Pacific Grand Prix.
There have been eleven occasions where a World Champion has been crowned at Suzuka, including in five consecutive seasons between 1987 and 1991.
In addition to Drivers’ Championships, the Constructors’ Championship has been decided here nine times, most recently in Mercedes’ favour in 2019.
The 2009 and 2018 Japanese Grands Prix are the only races at Suzuka where the top three finished in the order which they started.
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Japanese Grand Prix Stats:
Suzuka International Racing Course
Race first held
5.807km (18 turns)
53 laps (307.471km)
1:30.983, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, 2019)
1st Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:21:46.755
2nd Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +13.343s
3rd Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +13.858s
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