Better late than never, but here are a few track details, DRS zones etc.
First Grand Prix
Number of Laps
Race Lap Record
1:31.540 Kimi Räikkönen (2005)
The high-speed track remains one of the ultimate driving challenges, with the snaking ‘S’ Curves, the two commitment-rewarding Degners and the white-knuckle ride of 130R all highlights in a series of highlights at what is one of F1’s seminal tracks. And hey, it’s got a crossover.
The circuit, set inside a funfair, was designed by Dutchman John Hugenholtz and owned by Honda, who used it as a test track. Most notable initially for its layout—Suzuka is the only figure-eight race track to appear on the F1 calendar. The demanding and fast Japanese circuit became very popular among drivers and fans; and it was to see some of the most dramatic and memorable moments in Formula One history.
Wins Driver Years won
6 Michael Schumacher 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004
5 Lewis Hamilton 2007, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018
4 Sebastian Vettel 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
Gerhard Berger 1987, 1991
Ayrton Senna 1988, 1993
Damon Hill 1994, 1996
Mika Häkkinen 1998, 1999
Fernando Alonso 2006, 2008
Winners since 2000
Year Driver Constructor Location
2018 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Suzuka
2017 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2016 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2015 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2014 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2013 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2012 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2011 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2010 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2009 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2008 Fernando Alonso Renault Fuji
2007 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2006 Fernando Alonso Renault Suzuka
2005 Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
2004 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2003 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari
2002 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2001 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2000 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
When was the track built?
In 1962. Soichiro Honda, whose car company you may have heard of, was a man with big ambitions. Seeking to turn Honda into an automotive powerhouse, he decided his company should have its own test track. Dutchman John Hugenholtz got the nod, and drew up the now-iconic ‘crossover’ Suzuka track – although original drawings saw the track pass over and under itself a full three times, which would have been sweet!
When was its first Grand Prix?
Despite most people agreeing that Suzuka is a worthy successor to sliced bread in the ‘Best Thing’ stakes, the Japanese track was a relative latecomer to the F1 calendar, making its first appearance in 1987. Nigel Mansell would remember that weekend well, after he suffered a crash in qualifying that ruled him out of the race and the following race in Ausstralia, (Patrese stood in for Nigel) gifting that year’s championship to his bitter rival Nelson Piquet.
Historically, Japan has been one of the last races of the season, and as such the Japanese Grand Prix has been the venue for many title-deciding races, with 13 World Champions being crowned over the 34 World Championship Japanese Grands Prix that have been hosted. Japan was the only Asian nation to host a Formula One race (including the Pacific Grand Prix) until Malaysia joined the calendar in 1999.
The first two Formula One Japanese Grands Prix in 1976 and 1977 were held at the Fuji Speedway, before Japan was taken off the calendar. It returned in 1987 at Suzuka, which hosted the Grand Prix exclusively for 20 years and gained a reputation as one of the most challenging F1 circuits. In 1994 and 1995, Japan also hosted the Pacific Grand Prix at the TI Circuit, making Japan one of only seven countries to host more than one Grand Prix in the same season (the others being Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the USA). In 2007 the Grand Prix moved back to the newly redesigned Fuji Speedway.