The 1988 Japanese Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the XIV Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix (XIV Fujiterebi Nipponguranpuri in Japanese), was the fifteenth and penultimate round of the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, on the 30 October 1988. The race would see Ayrton Senna secure victory and his first World Championship title, as point scoring rules made it impossible for rival Alain Prost to beat his tally.
Qualifying had seen Senna emerge ahead of Prost in their usual fight for pole position, with McLaren-Honda claiming another front-row lockout. Best of the rest proved to be Gerhard Berger in third for Ferrari, while Ivan Capelli was a surprisingly strong fourth in his March-Judd, the best of the naturally aspirated cars.
Senna stalled his car at the start of the race, although due to the camber of the Suzuka circuit was effectively able to bump-start his McLaren. He hence tumbled down to fourteenth as he scrambled into action, as teammate Prost entered the first corner in an unopposed lead.
Prost was initially able to escape up the road from Berger, although the Austrian soon slipped behind Capelli who duly went chasing off after Prost. Senna, meanwhile, would quickly carve his way back into the top end of the field, grabbing fourth behind Berger as the field completed the fourth lap.
Rain began to fall on Suzuka as the race ticked past the fourteenth lap, allowing Capelli to sweep into the lead on lap sixteen. That move meant that Capelli became the first driver to lead a race in a non-turbo charged car since the 1983 Detroit Grand Prix.
Unfortunately for Capelli his lead was not to last, with Prost powering back past as they came to the end of the start/finish straight a few moments later. Capelli's hopes would subsequently expire a few laps later with an electrical failure, leaving Prost on his own out front.
However, all was not well with Prost's McLaren, with the Frenchman having picked up a worsening gearbox issue shortly before his fight with Capelli. This allowed Senna to sweep onto his tail with ease, and duly claimed the lead as the pair lapped Andrea de Cesaris.
With that the race, and ultimately Championship, was run, with Senna dancing away to claim victory with a succession of fastest laps. Prost claimed second thirteen seconds behind, while Thierry Boutsen survived well to claim third ahead of a distant Berger.
Because of the dropped score rule used in 1988, Prost effectively scored no points in Japan, and could only claim three, with victory, in Australia. That would only draw him level with Senna if the Brazilian failed to score, with the Brazilian holding eight wins to the Frenchman's seven, ensuring Senna would win on count-back.
Surprisingly there had been no change in the situation at the head of the Championship after the Spanish Grand Prix, with dropped scores coming into play. As such, Alain Prost only gained three points for his sixth victory of the season, by virtue of losing a second place worth six points from earlier in the campaign. That meant that Ayrton Senna, who would also begin losing old scores in Japan, had effectively lost no ground in Spain, in spite of finishing fourth.
Furthermore, the Brazilian racer could take the title in Japan, if he claimed victory at Suzuka. That would leave him three ahead of Prost, with the Frenchman only able to match his tally, before losing the title on count-back with seven wins to the Brazilian's eight. Conversely, Prost was unable to take the title in Japan, for he could only move eight clear of the Brazilian.
In the Constructors' Championship, meanwhile, it had been yet another strong weekend for McLaren-Honda, with the Anglo-Japanese alliance moving 107 points clear. Indeed, Ferrari had all but secured second in Spain in spite of the colossal gap to the leaders, moving 24 points clear with 30 left to fight for. Benetton-Ford Cosworth were the only team capable of beating them to the runner-up spot, with an eighteen point gap separating them from Arrows-Megatron in fourth.
The full entry list for the 1988 Japanese Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1988 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|10||20||Thierry Boutsen||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:44.882||1:44.499||+2.686s|
|12||19||Alessandro Nannini||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:45.047||1:44.611||+2.758s|
|14||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Rial-Ford Cosworth||1:48.393||1:45.558||+3.705s|
|16||3||Jonathan Palmer||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:47.828||1:45.916||+4.063s|
|17||23||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:47.638||1:46.449||+4.596s|
|18||14||Philippe Streiff||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:47.583||1:46.486||+4.633s|
|19||30||Philippe Alliot||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:47.057||1:46.521||+4.668s|
|20||29||Aguri Suzuki||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:48.448||1:46.920||+5.067s|
|21||36||Alex Caffi||Dallara-Ford Cosworth||1:47.813||1:46.982||+5.129s|
|22||24||Luis Pérez-Sala||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:48.769||1:47.134||+5.281s|
|26||4||Julian Bailey||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:49.420||1:48.589||+6.736s|
|DNQ||32||Oscar Larrauri||EuroBrun-Ford Cosworth||1:50.224||1:49.265||+7.412s|
|DNQ||33||Stefano Modena||EuroBrun-Ford Cosworth||1:49.812||1:50.047||+7.959s|
|DNPQ||31||Gabriele Tarquini||Coloni-Ford Cosworth||1:52.234|
- 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.
|______________||Andrea de Cesaris|
The full results for the 1988 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
- Ayrton Senna declared as the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship Champion.
- 50th Grand Prix for Zakspeed as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Debut race for Aguri Suzuki.
- Fourteenth career victory for Senna.
- Senna also broke the record for most race wins in a season - 8.
- McLaren claimed their 69th win as a constructor.
- Alain Prost set a new record for most races led - 54.
- Senna recorded his tenth fastest lap.
An eighth victory of the season ensured that Ayrton Senna was declared as the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship Champion with a race to spare, with dropped scores having a major influence. Indeed, his major rival Alain Prost could only score three points in Australia, which would only bring him level with the Brazilian if Senna failed to score. Senna would therefore win the crown by virtue of his eight wins to the Frenchman's seven, despite the fact that Prost had outscored Senna across the entire season.
In the Constructors' Championship, meanwhile, McLaren-Honda had once again increased their record points tally, moving onto 184 points in Japan. They left Suzuka with a 119 point lead over second placed Ferrari, who had officially secured the runner-up spot in Japan. Benetton-Ford Cosworth had likewise secured third ahead of Arrows-Megatron, with March-Judd, Lotus-Honda and Williams-Judd all in the fight for fourth.
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 1.15 'Japanese GP, 1987', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr467.html, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 '15. Japan 1988', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/japon.aspx, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Japan 1988: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/japon/engages.aspx, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1988/races/541/japan/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1988/races/541/japan/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Japan 1988: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/japon/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Japan 1988: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/japon/classement.aspx, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 '1988 Japanese GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1988&gp=Japanese%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
|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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