The 1987 Japanese Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XIII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix (Nipponguranpuri XIII Fujiterebi Nihon GP in Japanese), was the fifteenth and penultimate round of the 1987 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Suzuka Circuit on the 1 November 1987. The race, which was the first to be held at the Suzuka Circuit, would see Gerhard Berger claim victory for Ferrari, as Nelson Piquet secured his third World Championship title.
Ultimately the fight for the Championship had been settled in practice, for Piquet's only title rival, Williams-Honda teammate Nigel Mansell, crashed heavily in the S curves and received heavy bruising to his spine. The Brit was hence ruled out of the final two races of the season, leaving Piquet as the undisputed Champion.
Piquet appeared to lose focus during qualifying without the need to chase the Championship, for he qualified relatively lowly fifth on the grid. Pole position would instead go to Berger ahead of Alain Prost, while Thierry Boutsen and Michele Alboreto shared the second row.
Berger would scamper away from the field at the start of the grid, leaving Prost, Boutsen and Ayrton Senna to scrap for second. The rest of the field were then led by Piquet, while an early brush in the back of the pack saw Philippe Alliot go shooting off into the gravel.
Prost's challenge for victory was ended during the opening tour, with the Frenchman having to limp into the pitlane with a punctured tyre. Boutsen was hence charged with leading the anti-Berger cause, although the Ferrari would gradually ease ahead before the Belgian could seriously challenge.
The race soon settled into a rather tame affair, the only action of note being a mid-race scrap between Senna and Piquet, that ultimately fizzled out when Piquet's engine dumped its oil on the circuit. Berger, meanwhile, would continue to lead without challenge, although Stefan Johansson would threaten the Austrian during the second half of the race.
Indeed, the Swede was able to latch onto the back of the Ferrari after the stops, although after one aborted attempt Berger was able to gradually ease away. Johansson was left to run in a lonely second, only for his pace to completely collapse in the closing stages.
That left Johansson at the mercy of Senna on the final tour, who duly drove right around the outside of the Swede at the first corner. The Brazilian ultimately claimed second behind Berger a minute and a half later, with Johansson just behind in third.
With Mansell a no-show Piquet was officially declared as the Champion at the end of the race, while Jonathan Palmer was declared as the inaugural winner of the Jim Clark Trophy. That meant there was literally nothing to fight for at the final race of the season in Australia, with Williams-Honda and Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth having already been declared as the Constructors' and Colin Chapman Trophy Champions respectively.
Victory for Nigel Mansell last time meant that the Brit still had a slim hope of taking the title, having closed to within twelve points of teammate Nelson Piquet. Yet, while Piquet was now only able to score eight points at the final two rounds, while Mansell could claim eighteen, the Brazilian could still win the title if Mansell failed to finish on the podium in Japan. Behind, Ayrton Senna was out of the fight in third, and was instead in a fight with Alain Prost to finish there.
Williams-Honda had already won the Constructors' Championship in Spain, meaning all of the attention was on the fight for second heading to Japan. Yet, there had been no movement in that fight last time out in Mexico, as both McLaren-TAG Porsche and Lotus-Honda had failed to score at all. That meant that the Anglo-German alliance could secure the runner-up spot in Japan, as long as Lotus-Honda finished behind them.
Jonathan Palmer was the leader in the Jim Clark Trophy chase with two races to go, and could win the title in Japan if he finished ahead of Philippe Streiff. Indeed, the Frenchman was the only man capable of defeating his teammate, and would have to claim at least one point in Japan, regardless of Palmer's result, just to keep the fight alive. Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth, meanwhile, had already won the Colin Chapman Trophy ahead of the trip to Japan, while Lola-Ford Cosworth had climbed into second in Mexico.
The full entry list for the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix is outlined below:
- Entries with a white background denote eligibility for the Jim Clark Trophy and Colin Chapman Trophy.
The full qualifying results for the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||1||Alain Prost||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:42.496||1:40.652||+0.610s|
|3||20||Thierry Boutsen||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:43.130||1:40.850||+0.808s|
|6||19||Teo Fabi||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:43.351||1:41.679||+1.673s|
|10||2||Stefan Johansson||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:43.612||1:43.371||+3.329s|
|11||8||Andrea de Cesaris||Brabham-BMW||1:46.399||1:43.618||+3.576s|
|15||24||Alessandro Nannini||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:48.948||1:45.612||+5.570s|
|19||30||Philippe Alliot||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:49.470||1:47.395||+7.353s|
|20||3||Jonathan Palmer||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:48.902||1:47.775||+7.733s|
|21||16||Ivan Capelli||March-Ford Cosworth||1:49.814||1:48.212||+8.170s|
|22||23||Adrián Campos||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:53.455||1:48.337||+8.295s|
|23||29||Yannick Dalmas||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:51.230||1:48.887||+8.845s|
|24||21||Alex Caffi||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:49.017||1:50.902||+8.975s|
|26||4||Philippe Streiff||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:50.896||1:49.741||+9.699s|
|27||14||Roberto Moreno||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:51.835||1:50.212||+10.710s|
- A white background indicates an entrant in the Jim Clark Trophy.
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
- * Mansell was unable to start the race after sustaining an injury in practice/qualifying.
- † Suzuki's entry was withdrawn after Trussardi's registration as an entrant was rejected.
|Andrea de Cesaris||______________|
The full results for the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
- A white background indicates an entrant in the Jim Clark Trophy with numbers in brackets indicating their finishing position in that class.
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Cheever and Piquet were still classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.
- Nelson Piquet declared as the 1987 FIA Formula One World Championship Champion.
- It was also Piquet's third World Championship title.
- Jonathan Palmer declared as the 1987 FIA Jim Clark Trophy Champion.
- First Grand Prix to be staged at the Suzuka Circuit.
- Alfa Romeo started their 214th and final Grand Prix as an engine supplier.
- 150th race to feature an Arrows built chassis.
- 250th entry for a car using #23 as its race number.
- Second victory for Gerhard Berger.
- Ferrari claimed their 92nd win as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Ayrton Senna claimed the 60th podium finish for a Honda engine.
- Stefan Johansson recorded the 54th and final podium finish for TAG Porsche as an engine supplier.
- Twentieth fastest lap recorded by Alain Prost.
- This was also the eighteenth and final fastest lap recorded by a TAG Porsche engine.
- Andrea de Cesaris set a new record for most consecutive retirements - 12.
With Nigel Mansell out injured Nelson Piquet had effectively won his third World Championship crown before the race, although it was only after the chequered flag fell that his title was officially confirmed. Mansell was hence left to fight for second, although with the injuries sustained in his practice accident it seemed unlikely that the Brit would drive at all in Australia. That would hence allow Ayrton Senna to potentially nip into the runner-up spot at the season finale, although he would have to finish second or higher to do so.
Williams-Honda had had a rare non-score in Japan, although that was of little concern given that they had already won the Constructors' Championship. McLaren-TAG Porsche, meanwhile, had almost secured second, but would need to score at least two points in Australia to prevent Lotus-Honda sneaking ahead. Elsewhere, Ferrari had effectively claimed fourth ahead of Benetton-Ford Cosworth, while Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth and Lola-Ford Cosworth were both in the top ten.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Jim Clark/Colin Chapman Trophy
A sixth class victory in the Jim Clark Trophy in Japan was enough to see Jonathan Palmer become the inaugural Champion with a race to spare, moving twelve clear of second placed Philippe Streiff. Indeed, the Frenchman was left in second ahead of the trip to Australia, with Philippe Alliot a very distant third. Likewise, Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth once again extended their huge lead in the Colin Chapman Trophy, leaving Japan with 160 points to their name.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 'Japanese GP, 1987', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr451.html, (Accessed 06/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Japan 1987: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1987/mexique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 06/04/2019)
- ↑ '1987 Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1987/races/525/japan/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 06/04/2019)
- ↑ '1987 Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1987/races/525/japan/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 06/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Japan 1987: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1987/japon/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 06/04/2019)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 'Japan 1987: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1987/japon/classement.aspx, (Accessed 06/04/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 '15. Japan 1987', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1987/japon.aspx, (Accessed 06/04/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 '1987 Japanese GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1987&gp=Japanese%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 06/04/2019)
|V T E||Japanese Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Fuji (1976–1977, 2007–2008), Suzuka (1987–2006, 2009–present)|
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|See also||Pacific Grand Prix|
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