The 2003 Japanese Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the XXIX Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix, (XXIX フジテレビ日本グランプリ in Japanese) was the sixteenth and final round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, on 12 October 2003.[1] The race would see Michael Schumacher secure a record sixth World Championship title, as major rival Kimi Räikkönen failed to get the result he needed to overcome the German ace on the final day.[1]

Indeed, with a nine point advantage arriving in Japan it was Schumacher's title to lose, and when Räikkönen could only grab eighth in qualifying the German ace was all the more certain to win the crown.[1] Yet, Schumacher himself would only manage to claim fourteenth, as teammate Rubens Barrichello beat Juan Pablo Montoya to pole position.[1]

Suzuka's first corner had a reputation for deciding World Championships, although that was not the case in 2003, as a clean start throughout the field saw no major issues.[1] Indeed, Barrichello and Montoya would jostle for the lead, the Brazilian emerging ahead, while Fernando Alonso got away superbly to claim third for Renault.[1]

Behind, Räikkönen would pick up two spots as Olivier Panis was barged down the order by Alonso, although attention quickly swapping back to the two leaders.[1] Indeed, Montoya lunged at Barrichello at the hairpin and failed, only for an error from the Brazilian exiting the hairpin allowing the Colombian ace to edge ahead into the Spoon Curve.[1]

The second lap saw Ralf Schumacher spin out of the lead group, while Michael Schumacher had his front win removed when he launched an optimistic lunge at home hero Takuma Sato in the #16 BAR-Honda.[1] Out front, meanwhile, Montoya maintained Williams' hopes of securing the Constructors title, until a hydraulic failure on lap ten left him on the sidelines.[1]

Barrichello inherited the lead, although with Alonso swarming all over his tail until the Renault's electronics failed.[1] Coulthard hence emerged in second but was already fifteen seconds down, and duly failed to challenge the Brazilian through to the first and second round of stops.[1]

In terms of the Championship battle, meanwhile, Räikkönen would jump ahead of teammate Coulthard using a two-stop strategy, while Schumacher was recovering after an early collision.[1] That recovery was not aided by his brother Ralf, with the Schumacher's coming together when battling with Cristiano da Matta of Toyota, costing Ralf his front wing.[1]

Michael, meanwhile, would use that incident to break into the top eight and hence gain the point he needed to deny Räikkönen the crown.[1] However, he had trashed his tyres when avoiding da Matta, and hence would spend the remaining laps with a bad vibration on his car.[1]

Out front, Barrichello was able to keep Räikkönen at arm's length, and duly crossed the line to claim victory and the Constructors Championship for Ferrari.[1] Räikkönen and Coulthard completed the podium, which was not enough for Räikkönen to claim the crown, meaning eighth was enough for Schumacher.[1]

Schumacher hence claimed his record sixth World Championship by two points, and was the first time that he had won the title without finishing on the podium in the same race.[1] Furthermore, Ferrari secured their fifth Constructors Championship in a row, and their thirteenth overall.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

Michael Schumacher would leave the US Grand Prix of 2003 with one hand on his sixth World Championship crown after claiming victory, with 92 points to his name. That left Kimi Räikkönen as the only man who could deny the German ace, although with a nine point deficit to overcome in Japan, the Finn faced an near impossible climb, needing to win with Schumacher failing to score. Juan Pablo Montoya, meanwhile, was out of the fight in third, with the Colombian ace only able to match Schumacher's tally at best, but would lose the title on countback.

In the Constructors Championship it would be Ferrari who held an advantage into the final day in Japan, leaving Indianapolis with 147 points. That left them three ahead of Williams-BMW in second, setting up an intriguing duel for the crown at the season finale. Indeed, McLaren-Mercedes were now too far back to overhaul the Scuderia, but could claim the runner-up spot if they had a perfect weekend in Suzuka.

Entry list[edit | edit source]

The full entry list for the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F2003-GA Ferrari 052 3.0 V10 B
2 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F2003-GA Ferrari 052 3.0 V10 B
3 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya United Kingdom BMW Williams F1 Team Williams FW25 BMW P83 3.0 V10 M
4 Germany Ralf Schumacher United Kingdom BMW Williams F1 Team Williams FW25 BMW P83 3.0 V10 M
5 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-17D Mercedes FO 110P 3.0 V10 M
6 Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-17D Mercedes FO 110P 3.0 V10 M
7 Italy Jarno Trulli France Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Renault R23B Renault RS23 3.0 V10 M
8 Spain Fernando Alonso France Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Renault R23B Renault RS23 3.0 V10 M
9 Germany Nick Heidfeld Switzerland Sauber Petronas Sauber C22 Petronas 03A 3.0 V10 B
10 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Switzerland Sauber Petronas Sauber C22 Petronas 03A 3.0 V10 B
11 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan Ford Jordan EJ13 Ford Cosworth RS1 3.0 V10 B
12 Ireland Ralph Firman Ireland Jordan Ford Jordan EJ13 Ford Cosworth RS1 3.0 V10 B
14 Australia Mark Webber United Kingdom Jaguar Racing Jaguar R4 Ford Cosworth CR-5 3.0 V10 M
15 United Kingdom Justin Wilson United Kingdom Jaguar Racing Jaguar R4 Ford Cosworth CR-5 3.0 V10 M
16 Japan Takuma Sato United Kingdom Lucky Strike BAR Honda BAR 005 Honda RA003E 3.0 V10 B
17 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom Lucky Strike BAR Honda BAR 005 Honda RA003E 3.0 V10 B
18 Denmark Nicolas Kiesa Italy European Minardi Cosworth Minardi PS03 Ford Cosworth CR-3 3.0 V10 B
19 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Italy European Minardi Cosworth Minardi PS03 Ford Cosworth CR-3 3.0 V10 B
20 France Olivier Panis Japan Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota TF103 Toyota RVX-03 3.0 V10 M
21 Brazil Cristiano da Matta Japan Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota TF103 Toyota RVX-03 3.0 V10 M
Test Drivers for Free Practice Sessions
34 United Kingdom Allan McNish France Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Renault R23B Renault RS23 3.0 V10 M
36 Japan Satoshi Motoyama Ireland Jordan Ford Jordan EJ13 Ford Cosworth RS1 3.0 V10 B
39 Italy Gianmaria Bruni Italy European Minardi Cosworth Minardi PS03 Ford Cosworth CR-3 3.0 V10 B
Source:[2]

Practice Overview[edit | edit source]

Qualifying[edit | edit source]

Q1 Report[edit | edit source]

Q2 Report[edit | edit source]

Qualifying Results[edit | edit source]

The full qualifying results for the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2
1 2 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Italy Ferrari 1:30.758 1:31.713
2 3 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya United Kingdom Williams-BMW 1:31.201 1:32.412 +0.699s
3 21 Brazil Cristiano da Matta Japan Toyota 1:32.256 1:32.419 +0.706s
4 20 France Olivier Panis Japan Toyota 1:31.908 1:32.862 +1.149s
5 8 Spain Fernando Alonso France Renault 1:30.624 1:33.044 +1.331s
6 14 Australia Mark Webber United Kingdom Jaguar-Ford Cosworth 1:31.305 1:33.106 +1.393s
7 5 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.482 1:33.137 +1.424s
8 6 Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.558 1:33.272 +1.559s
9 17 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom BAR-Honda 1:32.374 1:33.474 +1.761s
10 15 United Kingdom Justin Wilson United Kingdom Jaguar-Ford Cosworth 1:32.291 1:33.558 +1.845s
11 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1:31.783 1:33.632 +1.919s
12 10 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1:31.892 1:33.896 +2.183s
13 16 Japan Takuma Sato United Kingdom BAR-Honda 1:31.832 1:33.924 +2.211s
14 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 1:30.464 1:34.302 +2.589s
15 12 Ireland Ralph Firman Ireland Jordan-Ford Cosworth 1:33.057 1:34.771 +3.058s
16 11 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan-Ford Cosworth 1:33.313 1:34.912 +3.199s
17 19 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 1:34.836 1:34.975 +3.262s
18 18 Denmark Nicolas Kiesa Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 1:36.181 1:37.226 +5.513s
NC 4 Germany Ralf Schumacher United Kingdom Williams-BMW 1:30.343
NC 7 Italy Jarno Trulli France Renault 1:30.281
Source:[3][4][5]
  • 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.

Grid[edit | edit source]

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Rubens Barrichello 2
______________ Juan Pablo Montoya
Row 2 3 ______________
Cristiano da Matta 4
______________ Olivier Panis
Row 3 5 ______________
Fernando Alonso 6
______________ Mark Webber
Row 4 7 ______________
David Coulthard 8
______________ Kimi Räikkönen
Row 5 9 ______________
Jenson Button 10
______________ Justin Wilson
Row 6 11 ______________
Nick Heidfeld 12
______________ Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Row 7 13 ______________
Takuma Sato 14
______________ Michael Schumacher
Row 8 15 ______________
Ralph Firman 16
______________ Giancarlo Fisichella
Row 9 17 ______________
Jos Verstappen* 18
______________ Nicolas Kiesa
Row 10 19 ______________
Jarno Trulli 20
______________ Ralf Schumacher
  • * Verstappen started the race from the pitlane.[5]

Race[edit | edit source]

Report[edit | edit source]

Results[edit | edit source]

The full results for the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 2 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Italy Ferrari 53 1:25:11.743 1 10
2 6 Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 53 +11.085s 8 8
3 5 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 53 +11.614s 7 6
4 17 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom BAR-Honda 53 +33.106s 9 5
5 7 Italy Jarno Trulli France Renault 53 +34.269s 20 4
6 16 Japan Takuma Sato United Kingdom BAR-Honda 53 +51.692s 13 3
7 21 Brazil Cristiano da Matta Japan Toyota 53 +56.794s 3 2
8 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 53 +59.487s 14 1
9 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 53 +1:00.159 11
10 20 France Olivier Panis Japan Toyota 53 +1:01.844 4
11 14 Australia Mark Webber United Kingdom Jaguar-Ford Cosworth 53 +1:11.005 6
12 4 Germany Ralf Schumacher United Kingdom Williams-BMW 52 +1 Lap 19
13 15 United Kingdom Justin Wilson United Kingdom Jaguar-Ford Cosworth 52 +1 Lap 10
14 12 Ireland Ralph Firman Ireland Jordan-Ford Cosworth 51 +2 Laps 15
15 19 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 51 +2 Laps 17
16 18 Denmark Nicolas Kiesa Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 50 +3 Laps 18
Ret 11 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan-Ford Cosworth 33 Out of fuel 16
Ret 8 Spain Fernando Alonso France Renault 17 Engine 5
Ret 10 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 9 Engine 12
Ret 3 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya United Kingdom Williams-BMW 9 Hydraulics 2
Source:[6]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.

Milestones[edit | edit source]

Standings[edit | edit source]

Michael Schumacher would end the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship as the Champion, overhauling Juan Manuel Fangio by claiming his sixth Championship crown. Kimi Räikkönen, meanwhile, would fall two points shy of his maiden crown, despite only having one win to the German ace's six across the campaign. Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top three ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher, with twenty drivers having scored across the campaign.

In the Constructors Championship it was Ferrari who had ended the season as the Champions, their fifth title in a row and thirteenth in total. Williams-BMW claimed second by just two points, with McLaren-Mercedes having just fallen shy of the runner-up spot on the final day. Behind, Renault were in fourth ahead of BAR-Honda, with every team bar Minardi-Ford Cosworth having scored points in 2003.

World Championship for Drivers
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 Germany Michael Schumacher 93
2 Finland Kimi Räikkönen 91
3 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya 82
4 Brazil Rubens Barrichello 65 ▲1
5 Germany Ralf Schumacher 58 ▼1
6 Spain Fernando Alonso 55
7 United Kingdom David Coulthard 51
8 Italy Jarno Trulli 33
9 United Kingdom Jenson Button 17 ▲3
10 Australia Mark Webber 17 ▼1
11 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen 13 ▼1
12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella 12 ▼1
13 Brazil Cristiano da Matta 10
14 Germany Nick Heidfeld 6
15 France Olivier Panis 6
16 Canada Jacques Villeneuve 6
17 Spain Marc Gené 4
18 Japan Takuma Sato 3 ▲6
19 Ireland Ralph Firman 1 ▼1
20 United Kingdom Justin Wilson 1 ▼1
World Championship for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 158
2 United Kingdom Williams-BMW 144
3 United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 142
4 France Renault 88
5 United Kingdom BAR-Honda 26 ▲1
6 Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 19 ▼1
7 United Kingdom Jaguar-Ford Cosworth 18
8 Japan Toyota 16
9 Ireland Jordan-Ford Cosworth 13
10 Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 0

Only point scoring drivers are shown.

References[edit | edit source]

Images and Videos:

References:

  1. 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 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 'Japanese GP, 2003', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr713.html, (Accessed 15/12/2019)
  2. 'Japan 2003: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/japon/engages.aspx, (Accessed 16/12/2019)
  3. '2003 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/752/japan/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 16/12/2019)
  4. '2003 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/752/japan/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 16/12/2019)
  5. 5.0 5.1 'Japan 2003: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/japon/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 16/12/2019)
  6. 'Japan 2003: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/japon/classement.aspx, (Accessed 16/12/2019)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 '16. Japan 2003', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/japon.aspx, (Accessed 16/12/2019)
V T E 2003 Formula One Season
Teams Ferrari • Williams • McLaren • Renault • Sauber • Jordan • Jaguar • BAR • Minardi • Toyota
Engines BMW • Cosworth • Ferrari • Ford • Honda • Mercedes • Petronas • Renault • Toyota
Drivers M. Schumacher • 2 Barrichello • 3 Montoya • 4 R. Schumacher • 4 Gené • 5 Coulthard • 6 Räikkönen • 7 Trulli • 8 Alonso • 9 Heidfeld • 10 Frentzen • 11 Fisichella • 12 Firman • 12 Baumgartner • 14 Webber • 15 Pizzonia • 15 Wilson • 16 Villeneuve • 16 Sato • 17 Button • 18 Wilson • 18 Kiesa • 19 Verstappen • 20 Panis • 21 Da Matta
Other Drivers Badoer • Beretta • Bruni • Davidson • De la Rosa • Lotterer • Massa • McNish • Montagny • Paffett • Wurz • Zonta
Cars Ferrari F2003-GA • Williams FW25 • McLaren MP4-17D • Renault R23 • BAR 005 • Sauber C22 • Jaguar R4 • Toyota TF103 • Jordan EJ13 • Minardi PS03
Tyres Bridgestone • Michelin
Races Australia • Malaysia • Brazil • San Marino • Spain • Austria • Monaco • Canada • Europe • France • Britain • Germany • Hungary • Italy • United States • Japan
See also 2002 Formula One Season • 2004 Formula One Season • Category
V T E Japan Japanese Grand Prix
Circuits Fuji (1976–1977, 2007–2008), Suzuka (1987–2006, 2009–present)
SuzukaCircuit2005.png
Races 197619771978–1986 • 19871988198919901991199219931994 • 19951996199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020
See also Pacific Grand Prix
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