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Suzuka International Racing Course

CIRCUIT PAGE
02/01/2018

CIRCUIT DIAGRAM

Click the image for a larger version of the circuit map

DETAILS

Suzuka International Racing Course

Suzuka International Racing Course
7992 Ino-Cho
Suzuka-shi
Mie Prefecture
510-0295
Japan

Tel: +81 (0)59 378 1111

Fax:

Official website:
www.mobilityland.co.jp

STATISTICS (PRIOR TO 2018)

Length:

5.807km (3.608miles)

Race laps:

53

2017 winner:

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Configuration:

Figure of eight

First GP:

1987

Lap record:

1:31.540 (Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, 2005)

Type:

Permanent Circuit

Total races:

29

BIOGRAPHY

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

2017 marked the 33rd Japanese Grand Prix. The race debuted at the Fuji Speedway in 1976 and returned in 1977, before disappearing off the calendar for a decade until its reappeareance in 1987 at Suzuka. It has been held at Suzuka every year since except for 2007 and 2008, when it made a brief return to Fuji.

McLaren are the most successful team at the Japanese Grand Prix with nine victories. Two of those victories are, however, at Fuji. At Suzuka they are tied with Ferrari on seven wins each.

Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in Japanese Grand Prix history with six victories, winning for Benetton in 1995 and Ferrari in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Even more impressive than his record at the Japanese Grand Prix is his record in Japan overall: in 1994 and 1995 he also won the Pacific Grands Prix at Aida.

The current field features four Japanese Grand Prix winners, of whom Sebastian Vettel is the most successful with victories in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have the distinction of winning at both Suzuka and Fuji: Alonso at Suzuka in 2006 and Fuji in 2008, Hamilton at Fuji in 2007 and Suzuka in 2014 and 2015. The other winner in the field is Kimi Raikkonen who won at Suzuka in 2005.

Raikkonen's victory is the only one at either track to come from a driver starting outside the top six. He started 17th. Thirteen times from 28 races at Suzuka, the winner has started on pole. It hasn't proved hugely advantageous, as the driver starting from P2 has won 11 times.

Alessandro Nannini remains the only driver to take a maiden F1 victory at the Japanese Grand Prix. Driving for Benetton, the Italian was initially classified second but was promoted when Ayrton Senna was disqualified.

The World Championship for Drivers has been settled in Japan 12 times. James Hunt took the title at the dramatic first race, in Fuji. The title has since been clinched at Suzuka by Nelson Piquet (1987), Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990, 1991), Alain Prost (1989), Damon Hill (1996), Mika Hakkinen (1998, 1999), Michael Schumacher (2000, 2003) and most recently Sebastian Vettel (2011).

Lewis Hamilton's second place at Sepang last week was his 20th consecutive points-scoring race. His last non-scoring race came in Malaysia last year when an engine failure caused him to retire from the lead. Last year's Japanese Grand Prix saw Hamilton celebrate his 100th podium
finish.

Three drivers will be contesting an F1 race at Suzuka for the first time this weekend. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne knows the circuit well, having raced here three times in the 2016 Japanese Super Formula series, including a victory at the final race of the season. Pierre Gasly is contesting Super Formula this year, and raced at Suzuka in the opening round of the season. Lance Stroll races at Suzuka for the first time.

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