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The 1997 Japanese Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XXIII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix (XXIII フジテレビ日本グランプリ in Japanese), was the sixteenth and penultimate round of the 1997 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Suzuka Circuit on 12 October 1997.[1] The race proved to be a rather controversial one, with Championship leader Jacques Villeneuve being disqualified for a practice infringement, while Michael Schumacher swept to victory.[2]

The Canadian had started the weekend in fine form, sweeping to pole position in qualifying, only to be told that he had been excluded.[2] Replays showed that the Williams-Renault had passed several yellow flags during the session, prompting the officials to prevent the Canadian from racing at all.[2]

Williams, unsurprisingly, appealed the decision, and duly received a reprieve when the officials opted to allow Villeneuve to start from pole, albeit under a wider weekend long appeal.[2] He would hence be joined on the front row by Schumacher, while Eddie Irvine claimed third ahead of Mika Häkkinen.[2]

Raceday saw the warm-up pass without issue, with conditions remaining dry with no threat of rain.[2] With that the field gathered on the grid for the start, with questions over how Villeneuve would take the start.[2]

Unsurprisingly Villeneuve was very aggressive off the line, sweeping to the inside of the circuit to prevent Schumacher from nosing ahead into the first corner.[2] Behind, Häkkinen got the jump on Irvine, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen surged ahead of Gerhard Berger to secure fifth.[2]

Irvine was the man to watch in the early stages, passing both Häkkinen and Schumacher on lap two with a stunning move through the Esses.[2] He duly went on to harass Villeneuve for the lead for the next lap an a half, before selling the Canadian a dummy into the chicane to grab the lead.[2]

With that Irvine was away, pulling out a five second lead in a little over a lap, which exploded out to twelve in the following three.[2] Villeneuve, in truth, was forfeiting his hopes of victory by instead focusing on Schumacher, doing everything he could to keep the German ace behind him, knowing that he would win the Championship, barring appeals, as things stood.[2]

Häkkinen and Berger started the pit sequence on lap thirteen, the start of a tactical battle between McLaren-Mercedes and Benetton-Renault that involved all four of their cars.[2] Irvine and Schumacher, meanwhile, would make their stops on laps sixteen and eighteen, the latter emerging behind Johnny Herbert in the Sauber-Petronas, while Villeneuve stopped on lap twenty.[2]

Schumacher lost a little time behind Herbert, with Ferrari having sent a mechanic down to ask what their customers were doing, and was blasting down the start/finish straight as Villeneuve rejoined.[2] Having been told of Schumacher's progress Villeneuve shot straight across the circuit to try and put Schumacher off, only for the #5 Ferrari to dive inside the Williams in turn one to secure second.[2]

The second moment of controversy followed soon after, with Ferrari telling Irvine to slow down and allow Schumacher through.[2] The Brit duly did so to let Schumacher through on lap 23, before streaking across the circuit to block Villeneuve from coming through as well.[2]

With that the race was over, with Irvine doing everything in his power to ruin Villeneuve's race without making contact.[2] That, ultimately worked against him, for while Villeneuve remained behind, having seen his attempt at an undercut with an early second stop ruined by a fuel line issue, the #6 Ferrari would slip behind Frentzen.[2]

Frentzen duly went chasing off after Schumacher, but ran out of time to catch the German in-spite of the best efforts of Damon Hill to block the Ferrari when Schumacher came to lap him.[2] Behind, Irvine ran in a lonely third, while Häkkinen managed to get ahead of Villeneuve courtesy of the Canadian's poor stop.[2]

That, ultimately, was how the race finished, with Schumacher claiming victory while Villeneuve finished fifth, meaning the Canadian's lead had been cut to just a single point.[2] Frentzen, meanwhile, would finish second to secure the Constructors Championship for Williams-Renault, while Irvine completed the podium.[2]

In the weeks after the race the FIA Court of Appeal met to discuss Villeneuve's pre-race penalty, which had seen the Canadian race under appeal.[2] Their study into the incident, using a variety of replays, decided to uphold the original exclusion, meaning Villeneuve was removed from the results entirely.[2] Schumacher would hence head into the finale with a one point lead.[2]

BackgroundEdit

Victory for Jacques Villeneuve ensured that the Canadian ace left Luxembourg at the head of the Championship hunt, establishing a nine point lead. Michael Schumacher had made way for the Canadian racer, and would likely have to outscore the Canadian racer in Japan to keep his title hopes alive. Behind, Heinz-Harald Frentzen had retained third, although Jean Alesi had closed to within a point of the German racer.

In the Constructors Championship it was advantage Williams-Renault, who needed just a handful of points in Japan to retain their crown. Indeed, Ferrari had slipped 26 points behind at the Nürburgring, meaning they would have to outscore Williams by eleven points in Suzuka if they were to challenge for the title at the season finale. Behind Benetton-Renault had delivered a significant blow in the fight for third, moving eighteen clear of McLaren-Mercedes with two rounds to go.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1997 Japanese Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Danka Arrows Yamaha Arrows A18 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 B
2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Danka Arrows Yamaha Arrows A18 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 B
3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW19 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW19 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F310B Ferrari 046/2 3.0 V10 G
6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F310B Ferrari 046/2 3.0 V10 G
7 France Jean Alesi Italy Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes FO 110E 3.0 V10 G
10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes FO 110E 3.0 V10 G
11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 197 Peugeot A14 3.0 V10 G
12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 197 Peugeot A14 3.0 V10 G
14 France Olivier Panis France Prost Gauloises Blondes Prost JS45 Mugen-Honda MF-301HB 3.0 V10 B
15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost Gauloises Blondes Prost JS45 Mugen-Honda MF-301HB 3.0 V10 B
16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C16 Petronas SPE-01 3.0 V10 G
17 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C16 Petronas SPE-01 3.0 V10 G
18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom PIAA Tyrrell Tyrrell 025 Ford Cosworth ED4 3.0 V10 G
19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom PIAA Tyrrell Tyrrell 025 Ford Cosworth ED4 3.0 V10 G
20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi Team Minardi M197 Hart 830 AV7 3.0 V10 B
21 Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi Team Minardi M197 Hart 830 AV7 3.0 V10 B
22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom HSBC Malaysia Stewart Ford Stewart SF01 Ford Cosworth VJ Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B
23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom HSBC Malaysia Stewart Ford Stewart SF01 Ford Cosworth VJ Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B
Source:[3]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying ReportEdit

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1997 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap Ave. Speed
1 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Williams-Renault 1:36.071 219.737 km/h
2 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 1:36.133 +0.062s 219.596 km/h
3 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Ferrari 1:36.466 +0.395s 218.838 km/h
4 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.469 +0.398s 218.831 km/h
5 8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Benetton-Renault 1:36.561 +0.490s 218.622 km/h
6 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Williams-Renault 1:36.628 +0.557s 218.471 km/h
7 7 France Jean Alesi Italy Benetton-Renault 1:36.682 +0.611s 218.349 km/h
8 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1:36.906 +0.835s 217.844 km/h
9 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1:36.917 +0.846s 217.819 km/h
10 14 France Olivier Panis France Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:37.073 +1.002s 217.469 km/h
11 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.095 +1.024s 217.420 km/h
12 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 1:37.343 +1.272s 216.866 km/h
13 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1:37.443 +1.372s 216.644 km/h
14 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 1:37.480 +1.409s 216.561 km/h
15 15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:37.588 +1.517s 216.322 km/h
16 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 1:37.853 +1.782s 215.736 km/h
17 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 1:38.022 +1.951s 215.364 km/h
18* 17 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1:38.556 +2.485s 214.197 km/h
19 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi-Hart 1:38.983 +2.912s 213.273 km/h
20 21 Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi-Hart 1:39.678 +3.607s 211.786 km/h
21 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:40.259 +4.188s 210.559 km/h
22 19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:40.529 +4.458s 209.993 km/h
107% Time: 1:42.796[4]
Source:[5][4]
  • 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.
  • * Morbidelli was unable to start the race due to injuries sustained in an accident during qualifying.[4]

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Jacques Villeneuve 2
______________ Michael Schumacher
Row 2 3 ______________
Eddie Irvine 4
______________ Mika Häkkinen
Row 3 5 ______________
Gerhard Berger 6
______________ Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Row 4 7 ______________
Jean Alesi 8
______________ Johnny Herbert
Row 5 9 ______________
Giancarlo Fisichella 10
______________ Olivier Panis
Row 6 11 ______________
David Coulthard 12
______________ Rubens Barrichello
Row 7 13 ______________
Ralf Schumacher 14
______________ Jan Magnussen
Row 8 15 ______________
Shinji Nakano 16
______________ Pedro Diniz
Row 9 17 ______________
Damon Hill 18
______________ Ukyo Katayama
Row 10 19 ______________
Tarso Marques 20
______________ Jos Verstappen
Row 11 21 ______________
Mika Salo 22
______________

RaceEdit

ReportEdit

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1997 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 53 1:29:48.446 2 10
2 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Williams-Renault 53 +1.378s 6 6
3 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Ferrari 53 +26.384s 3 4
4 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 53 +27.129s 4 3
5 7 France Jean Alesi Italy Benetton-Renault 53 +40.403s 7 2
6 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 53 +41.630s 8 1
7 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 53 +56.825s 9
8 8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Benetton-Renault 53 +1:00.429 5
9 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 53 +1:22.036 13
10* 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 52 Engine 11
11 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 52 +1 Lap 17
12 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 52 +1 Lap 16
13 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 52 +1 Lap 21
DSQ 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Williams-Renault 53 Disqualified 1
Ret 21 Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi-Hart 46 Gearbox 20
Ret 19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 46 Engine 22
Ret 14 France Olivier Panis France Prost-Mugen-Honda 36 Engine 10
Ret 15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost-Mugen-Honda 22 Wheel bearing 15
Ret 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi-Hart 8 Engine 19
Ret 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 6 Spin 12
Ret 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 3 Spin 14
DNS 17 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Switzerland Sauber-Petronas
Source:[6]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
  • * Coulthard was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.[6]
  • Villeneuve was excluded from the results having ignored yellow flags during practice/qualifying.[6]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Michael Schumacher moved back to the top of the Championship after Jacques Villeneuve's retroactive disqualification, leaving Japan with a one point lead. That meant that the German ace simply had to finish ahead of the Canadian in Jerez to claim the crown, while Villeneuve had to score a point or more regardless. Behind, Heinz-Harald Frentzen had enhanced his hold on third, leaving Japan five ahead of Jean Alesi.

In the Constructors Championship the fight for the crown was over, with Williams-Renault leaving Japan with 118 points to their name. That left the Anglo-French squad eighteen clear of Ferrari, and with only sixteen points available at each race, Williams-Renault were hence declared as Champions with a race to spare. Ferrari were hence declared in second, while Benetton-Renault were safe in third ahead of McLaren-Mercedes.

World Championship for Drivers
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 Germany Michael Schumacher 78 ▲1
2 Canada Jacques Villeneuve 77 ▼1
3 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen 41
4 France Jean Alesi 36
5 United Kingdom David Coulthard 30
6 Austria Gerhard Berger 24
7 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine 22 ▲1
8 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella 20 ▼1
9 Finland Mika Häkkinen 17 ▲1
10 France Olivier Panis 16 ▼1
11 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert 15
12 Germany Ralf Schumacher 13
13 United Kingdom Damon Hill 7
14 Brazil Rubens Barrichello 6
15 Austria Alexander Wurz 4
16 Italy Jarno Trulli 3
17 Brazil Pedro Diniz 2
18 Finland Mika Salo 2
19 Japan Shinji Nakano 2
20 Italy Nicola Larini 1
World Championship for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 United Kingdom Williams-Renault 118
2 Italy Ferrari 100
3 Italy Benetton-Renault 64
4 United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 47
5 Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 33
6 France Prost-Mugen-Honda 21
7 Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 16
8 United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 9
9 United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 6
10 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 2

Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:

  1. 'Japanese GP, 1997', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr613.html, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GP
  3. 'Japan 1997: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/japon/engages.aspx, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 'Japan 1997: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/japon/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
  5. '1997 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1997/races/669/japan/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 'Japan 1997: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/japon/classement.aspx, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 '16. Japan 1997', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/japon.aspx, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
  8. '1997 Japanese GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1997&gp=Japanese%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
V T E Japan Japanese Grand Prix
Circuits Fuji (1976–1977, 2007–2008), Suzuka (1987–2006, 2009–present)
SuzukaCircuit2005
Races 197619771978–1986 • 19871988198919901991199219931994 • 19951996199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020
See also Pacific Grand Prix
V T E 1997 Formula One Season
Teams Arrows • Williams • Ferrari • Benetton • McLaren • Jordan • Prost • Sauber • Tyrrell • Minardi • Stewart • Lola
Engines Ferrari • Ford • Hart • Mercedes • Mugen-Honda • Petronas • Peugeot • Renault • Yamaha
Drivers Hill • 2 Diniz • 3 Villeneuve • 4 Frentzen • 5 M. Schumacher • 6 Irvine • 7 Alesi • 8 Berger • 8 Wurz • 9 Häkkinen • 10 Coulthard • 11 R. Schumacher • 12 Fisichella • 14 Panis • 14 Trulli • 15 Nakano • 16 Herbert • 17 Larini • 17 Morbidelli • 17 Fontana • 18 Verstappen • 19 Salo • 20 Katayama • 21 Trulli • 21 Marques • 22 Barrichello • 23 Magnussen • 24 Sospiri • 25 Rosset
Other Drivers Badoer • Brundle • Montermini • Montoya • Takagi • Tuero
Cars Williams FW19 • Ferrari F310B • Benetton B197 • McLaren MP4/12 • Jordan 197 • Prost JS45 • Sauber C16 • Arrows A18 • Stewart SF01 • Tyrrell 025 • Minardi M197 • Lola T97/30
Tyres Goodyear • Bridgestone
Races Australia • Brazil • Argentina • San Marino • Monaco • Spain • Canada • France • Britain • Germany • Hungary • Belgium • Italy • Austria • Luxembourg • Japan • Europe
See also 1996 Formula One Season • 1998 Formula One Season • Category
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