The 1999 Japanese Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XXV Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix (XXV フジテレビ日本グランプリ in Japanese), was the sixteenth and final round of the 1999 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, on the 31 October 1999. The race would see Eddie Irvine and Mika Häkkinen duel for the title, having arrived in Japan just four points apart.
Michael Schumacher, Irvine's Ferrari teammate, would claim pole position during qualifying, although Häkkinen delivered a crucial blow by securing second. Irvine, meanwhile, would only manage to secure fifth behind David Coulthard and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, meaning he would likely have to rely on Schumacher finishing ahead of the Finn.
Ultimately, however, Schumacher would not get the chance to keep Häkkinen behind, for the Finn aced his start and sprinted ahead of the German to claim the lead. Irvine, meanwhile, would manage ahead of both Coulthard and Frentzen off the grid, only to wind up in fourth behind a fast starting Olivier Panis.
Out front, Häkkinen would ease clear of Schumacher, with the German ace unable to match the Finn's out right pace. Behind, Irvine found himself hounded by Coulthard in his attempts to pass Panis, knowing that his title hopes relied on getting on terms with Häkkinen out front.
Yet, Irvine would only manage to claim third when Panis retired with an alternator failure, although he made no progress in catching Häkkinen nor Schumacher. Furthermore, the Brit would slip behind Coulthard during the first round of pit stsops, leaving Häkkinen on the verge of the title.
Indeed, Irvine would need a lot of good fortune to claim the crown, and fate seemed to be swinging his way when Coulthard spun into the wall on lap 34. The Scot would recover, however, and pit for a new nose, before rejoining the race a lap behind teammate Häkkinen.
Coulthard's influence on the race, and ultimately Championship, was made during this point, with the Scot allegedly holding Schumacher up for several laps when the German came to lap him. Indeed, the German ace lost several seconds to Häkkinen as Coulthard refused to let him pass, before the Scot's race was ended by a hydraulic failure. Schumacher would criticise Coulthard's actions after the race.
Deliberate or not the Scot's intervention ensured that Häkkinen had a big enough lead to make his second stop and retain a healthy lead. Schumacher, meanwhile, would spend the rest of the race slowly catching the Finn, while Irvine seemed to have given up hope in third.
Indeed, that was how the race would finish, with Häkkinen sweeping across the line to claim victory and the Championship, five seconds clear of Schumacher. Irvine appeared in third, over a minute and a half behind, and had lost the Championship by two points. Frentzen, meanwhile, would finish fourth to secure third in the Championship, with Ralf Schumacher and Jean Alesi scoring the final points of the season.
Thanks to the efforts of Michael Schumacher it was Eddie Irvine who left Sepang at the head of the Championship, overhauling a two point deficit to claim a four point lead. Mika Häkkinen hence headed into the finale in Japan on the back foot, with the title likely to come down to who won the race. Behind, Heinz-Harald Frentzen had slipped out of the fight, and would instead duel with David Coulthard to claim third.
Ferrari moved back to the top of the Constructors Championship as a result of Schumacher's return, with the Scuderia leaving Malaysia on 118 points. McLaren-Mercedes had made way for them, slipping four behind, with the pair set to duel for the crown at the finale. Behind, Jordan-Mugen-Honda had already been credited with third in the Championship, while Stewart-Ford Cosworth had moved ahead of Williams-Supertec.
The full entry list for the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||3||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||1:37.470||—||216.584 km/h|
|2||1||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||1:37.820||+0.350s||215.809 km/h|
|3||2||David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||1:38.239||+0.769s||214.888 km/h|
|4||8||Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Jordan-Mugen-Honda||1:38.696||+1.226s||213.893 km/h|
|5||4||Eddie Irvine||Ferrari||1:38.975||+1.505s||213.290 km/h|
|6||18||Olivier Panis||Prost-Peugeot||1:39.623||+2.153s||211.903 km/h|
|7||19||Jarno Trulli||Prost-Peugeot||1:39.644||+2.174s||211.858 km/h|
|8||17||Johnny Herbert||Stewart-Ford Cosworth||1:39.706||+2.236s||211.726 km/h|
|9||6||Ralf Schumacher||Williams-Supertec||1:39.717||+2.247s||211.703 km/h|
|10||11||Jean Alesi||Sauber-Petronas||1:39.721||+2.251s||211.695 km/h|
|11||22||Jacques Villeneuve||BAR-Supertec||1:39.732||+2.262s||211.671 km/h|
|12||7||Damon Hill||Jordan-Mugen-Honda||1:40.140||+2.670s||210.809 km/h|
|13||16||Rubens Barrichello||Stewart-Ford Cosworth||1:40.140||+2.670s||210.809 km/h|
|14||9||Giancarlo Fisichella||Benetton-Playlife||1:40.261||+2.791s||210.554 km/h|
|15||10||Alexander Wurz||Benetton-Playlife||1:40.303||+2.833s||210.466 km/h|
|16||5||Alex Zanardi||Williams-Supertec||1:40.403||+2.933s||210.257 km/h|
|17||12||Pedro Diniz||Sauber-Petronas||1:40.740||+3.270s||209.553 km/h|
|18||23||Ricardo Zonta||BAR-Supertec||1:40.861||+3.391s||209.302 km/h|
|19||15||Tora Takagi||Arrows||1:41.067||+3.597s||208.875 km/h|
|20||21||Marc Gené||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:41.529||+4.059s||207.925 km/h|
|21||14||Pedro de la Rosa||Arrows||1:41.708||+4.238s||207.559 km/h|
|22||20||Luca Badoer||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:42.515||+5.045s||205.925 km/h|
|107% Time: 1:44.293|
- 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.
|Pedro de la Rosa||22|
The full results for the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Fisichella was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- Mika Häkkinen declared as the 1999 FIA Formula One World Championship Champion.
- Häkkinen became the first Finnish driver to claim a second World Championship.
- Ferrari declared as the 1999 FIA Formula One World Championship for Constructors Champions.
- Damon Hill made his 115th and final Grand Prix start.
- 49th and final Grand Prix for Stewart as a constructor.
- 41st and final start for Alex Zanardi.
- Tora Takagi made his sixteenth and final Grand Prix start.
- 500th race for a car using #1 as its race number.
- Häkkinen scored his fourteenth career victory.
- McLaren claimed their 123rd win as a constructor.
Mika Häkkinen would claim his second World Championship on the final day of the 1999 FIA Formula One World Championship, ending the campaign on 76 points. Eddie Irvine ended the season in the runner-up spot, two points behind Häkkinen, having lost the title on the final day. Behind, Heinz-Harald Frentzen completed the top three on 54 points, with David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher rounding out the top five.
In the Constructors Championship it was Ferrari who claimed the 1999 FIA Formula One World Championship for Constructors crown, ending the season on 128 points. McLaren-Mercedes would hence end the season in second, four points off with 124 points, while Jordan-Mugen-Honda were a distant third on 61. Stewart-Ford Cosworth, meanwhile, ended their F1 stint in fourth on 36 points, one ahead of Williams-Supertec in fifth.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Japanese GP, 1999', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr646.html, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- 'Japan 1999: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1999/japon/engages.aspx, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- 'Japan 1999: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1999/japon/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- ' ', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), , (Accessed 12/08/2019)
- 'Japan 1999: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1999/japon/classement.aspx, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- '16. Japan 1999', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1999/japon.aspx, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- '1999 Japanese GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1999&gp=Japanese%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
|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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