Having spent most of this week perfecting his use of chopsticks, poor old @F1StatMan had to dictate this weeks addition of Fast Facts, owing to a rather unfortunate incident with some wayward wasabi. As soon as the swelling goes down, we’re sure he’ll be fine – but in the mean time, as fresh as a Californian Roll, here’s this weeks Fast Facts.
This is 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 reappearance 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.
Additional tyres, conveyor belts and tube inserts have been fitted to the existing tyre barriers in Turns 1, 2,4, 6, 7, 9,11 and 13.
New double kerbs have been installed on the exit of Turns 1 and 2 and the artificial grass has been replaced with asphalt.
There will be just one DRS zone at Suzuka, it is located on the main straight. The detection point is 50m before Turn 16 and the activation point is 100m before the control line.