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Suzuka International Racing Course



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Suzuka International Racing Course

Suzuka International Racing Course
7992 Ino-Cho
Mie Prefecture

Tel: +81 (0)59 378 1111


Official website:



5.807km (3.608miles)

Race laps:


2016 winner:

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)


Figure of eight

First GP:


Lap record:

1:31.540 (Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, 2005)


Permanent Circuit

Total races:



Japan wanted a Grand Prix as its fan-base became enormous, and everyone wanted Japan to have a Grand Prix because there were potential sponsors and engine-builders there, but nobody wanted to race at Fuji. The answer was Suzuka, which had been designed by John Hugenholtz as a test track for Honda.

Because it had been designed as a test track, it had a wide range of corners over its 3.641 miles and it also had a feature unique to Grand Prix circuits, a crossover.

Suzuka was first used for a World Championship race in 1987 and hosted the Japanese Grand Prix until 2007, and again in 2008, in favour of the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway after it underwent a transformation and redesign by Hermann Tilke.

Suzuka and Fuji were to alternate hosting the Japanese Grand Prix from 2009. However, after Fuji announced in July 2009 that it would no longer be part of the calendar, Suzuka signed a deal to host the Japanese Grand Prix exclusively.

The circuit has been modified a couple of times. In 2002, the chicane was slightly modified, 130R was also modified and some of the Snake curves were made a bit straighter and faster. In 2003, the chicane was made slightly faster and closer to the 130R.

Suzuka has frequently seen the Championship decider, never more dramatically than in 1989, when Alain Prost suckered Ayrton Senna and then drove into him, or in 1990 when Senna rammed Prost out of the race at very high speed on the first corner. Japan, after all, is the home of kamikaze.

The 2014 event was marred by the tragic accident which was to eventually claim the life of Jules Bianchi. Circumstances surrounding the incident caused much soul-searching within the sport, and while the introduction of closed cokcpits is still bering debated, within weeks of the crash a new Virtual Safety Car procedure was introduced.

Fast Facts - Provided by the FIA

2016 marked the 32nd Japanese Grand Prix. The first such event was held at the Fuji circuit in 1976.

Fuji has hosted just four of the 30 Japanese GPs held to date (in 1976 and '77 and in 2007-'08). The spiritual home of the race is Suzuka, which, starting in 1987, has hosted the race 27 times.

The most successful driver in the history of the Japanese Grand Prix is Michael Schumacher. The German won six times at Suzuka, in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 and in 2004. All bar the first, which was scored with Benetton, were won while with Ferrari. Schumacher's compatriot Sebastian Vettel is next on the list. He has four wins here, in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. All were scored during his time with Red Bull Racing.

Alongside Vettel, four other Japanese Grand Prix winners lined-up on the 2016 grid - Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who won with McLaren in 2005, McLaren's Fernando Alonso, who won with Renault in 2006 and 2008, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who won for McLaren in 2007 and for the Silver Arrows in 2014 and 2015 and McLaren's Jenson Button, who won for the Woking-based team in 2011.

The most successful constructor at the race is McLaren. The British team has nine wins, starting with James Hunt in 1977. The only drivers to so far take multiple Japanese Grand Prix wins for the team are Ayrton Senna, in 1988 and '93, and Mika Hakkinen, in 1998 and 1999.

Ferrari is the next most successful team, with seven wins. Its only victories not to be delivered by Michael Schumacher were Gerhard Berger's 1987 win and Rubens Barrichello's 2003 victory.

Michael Schumacher also has the record for most Japanese Grand Prix pole positions, with eight. Vettel is once again next on the list with four consecutive pole positions between 2009 and 2012.

The race at Suzuka has been won from pole 12 times in 27 events. Five of the last 11 grands prix at Suzuka have been won from pole position. The winner of the race at Suzuka has, however, come from the front row 23 times in 27 outings.

Raikkonen holds the record for winning from farthest back on the grid. In 2005 the Finn won from a starting position of 17th.

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