Japanese Grand Prix

The Japanese Grand Prix is one of the final races on the Formula One World Championship schedule. As one of the last races of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix often sets the stage for the final battle in the Drivers’ World Championship.

Laps: 67
Lap Distance: 4.563km
Race Distance: 305.416km

Suzuka Circuit/Fuji Speedway

The Japanese Grand Prix has traditionally been raced at the Suzuka Circuit, owned by the Honda Motor Company. The racetrack is famous for its multi-cornered figure of eight layout.

While not conducive to high speed racing, the track offers numerous opportunities for overtaking and is considered to be one of the most difficult in the world.

From 2009 onwards the Japanese Grand Prix will be alternated between the traditional Suzuka Circuit and Toyota’s Fuji Speedway. The Fuji Speedway is the antithesis of the Suzuka Circuit with a long, high-speed straight and a number of fast, dangerous bends.

Japanese Grand Prix History

The Japanese Grand Prix made its debut in 1976 at the Fuji Speedway. Held in torrential rain and with strong winds, the first Japanese Grand Prix is famous for Nicki Lauda’s decision to withdraw from the race due to safety concerns, thereby virtually handing the Drivers’ Championship to James Hunt.

The following year Lauda’s suspicions of track safety were confirmed when an accident involving Gilles Villeneuve resulted in the death of two spectators. The race was promptly cancelled, and the grand prix was not revived until 1987, when it was moved to the Suzuka Circuit.

The Suzuka circuit proved to be far safer than the Fuji Speedway, with drama restricted to a succession of championship deciding races, many of which were spiced up by intense driver rivalries, and exceptionally bad behaviour displayed by some drivers on the racetrack.

In 2006 it was announced that the Japanese Grand Prix would return to the Fuji Speedway, which had been upgraded and re-designed by Hermann Tilke.

This decision proved unpopular with fans and drivers alike, and in 2007 Formula One organisers announced that the race would be alternated between Suzuka and the Fuji Speedway from 2009 onwards.

The Future of the Japanese Grand Prix

The Japanese Grand Prix is the most successful and established race in Asia. The involvement of both Honda and Toyota in Formula One racing means that the race is unlikely to be withdrawn from the World Championship at any point in the near future.

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