Race Facts – Japanese Grand Prix

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The Suzuka circuit has been home to the Japanese Grand Prix for all but two years since 1987. It’s 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 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. 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.


The 2014 Japanese Grand Prix will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. A typhoon made landfall in Japan on race day and Suzuka was subjected to heavy rainfall, which resulted in an aborted start to the race. Near the end of the race and in poor light, Jules Bianchi’s Marussia left the track under safety car conditions and collided with a tractor, which was removing Adrian Sutil’s Sauber from the circuit. Bianchi suffered serious head injuries and after nine months in a coma, died in July, 2015. He was the first F1 fatality since Ayrton Senna in 1994.


  • Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in Japan, having recorded six victories between 1995-2004. Hot on his heels are Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, who have each recorded 4 wins at Suzuka.
  • 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).
  • Suzuka and Fuji are not the only circuits in Japan to host an F1 race. In 1994 and 1995, Okayama International Circuit (previously known as TI Circuit Aida) staged the Pacific Grand Prix
Circuit NameSuzuka Circuit
Race first held1987
Track Length5.807km (18 turns)
Race Distance53 laps (307.573km)
Lap Record1:31.540, Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari, 2005)
2017 result1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:27:31.194
2nd Max Verstappen (Red Bull) + 1.211s
3rd Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) + 9.679s
November 8, 2018

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Budget Planner – 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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February 23, 2018

Race Facts – Japanese Grand Prix

The Suzuka circuit has been home to the Japanese Grand Prix for all but two years since 1987.

February 23, 2018

Travel Basics – Japanese Grand Prix

What you need to know before organizing your trip to the Japanese Grand Prix. The next race at Suzuka takes place on October 5-7, 2018.

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Here’s the best ways to get to Japan and the Suzuka circuit for the Japanese Grand Prix.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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