The 2004 Japanese Grand Prix, otherwise formally known as the XXXI Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix, (XXXI フジテレビ日本グランプリ in Japanese), was the seventeenth and penultimate round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, on 10 October 2004. Staged on the weekend where Typhoon Ma-on swept across Japan, the race would see Michael Schumacher claim a dominant victory for Ferrari, his thirteenth of the campaign.
Indeed, the typhoon had been predicted to batter Suzuka on its way across the Japanese islands, and hence caused Saturday's running to be cancelled. That meant that qualifying was staged on Sunday morning, with Schumacher claiming pole position ahead of brother Ralf Schumacher, while Mark Webber claimed third ahead of Takuma Sato and Jenson Button.
Ultimately the typhoon missed Suzuka entirely, and hence meant that, barring some heavy rain on Saturday, there had been no issues at the circuit. Furthermore, the circuit would be completely dry fort he race, with bright, sunny conditions ensuring everyone started on dry tyres.
The start itself saw hopes of Michael Schumacher being challenged instantly vaporised, for the #1 Ferrari made a barnstorming start to claim the lead. Ralf Schumacher was hence left to settle into second, while Button dived past Webber and Sato to secure third.
Indeed, Michael Schumacher quickly stamped his authority, rapidly building a lead over his closet pursuers with a suspected three-stop strategy. Behind, Ralf Schumacher ran on his own, while Button faced some stiff competition from teammate Sato, with the BAR-Hondas eventually swapping over on lap eight with Sato on a lower fuel strategy.
The first round of stops were triggered by Ralf Schumacher, although hopes that Michael Schumacher was on the same three-stop strategy were broken when he continued through to lap thirteen. Such was the #1 Ferrari's lead by that staged that Schumacher was able to stop without losing the lead, while teammate Rubens Barrichello gained a lot of ground at his first stop.
The order remained unchanged after the first round of stops, and would stay that way through the second, with Schumacher stopping without losing the lead, while Sato briefly ran in second until making his stop. Unfortunately for the home fans a long stop for the #10 BAR ensured that Sato tumbled back down the order, with Ralf Schumacher another loser.
With Michael Schumacher out of sight the rest of the race was focused on a three way fight for second, with Button holding Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard at bay. That would become a four-way tussle in the latter stages as Barrichello swept up behind them, until he removed himself and Coulthard from the fight with a clash at the chicane. Button and Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, would swap positions at the final round of stops, with the BAR not responding well to its final set of tyres.
Out front, meanwhile, Michael Schumacher claimed his thirteenth win of the season unopposed, reasserting his dominance from the first two thirds of the season. Ralf Schumacher and Button duly completed the podium ahead of Sato, with Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Giancarlo Fisichella completing the points scorers.
Michael Schumacher had failed to score for only the second time in 2004, although as he had already secured the crown that was of little concern. Behind, teammate Rubens Barrichello used his second victory in a row to secure second in the Championship, moving 29 points clear of Jenson Button with just twenty left to fight for. The Brit himself, meanwhile, was guaranteed third in the Championship, while Fernando Alonso held fifth place by four points.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had moved onto 244 points for the season after securing their fourteenth win of the season, leaving them just one shy of the record for most wins in a single campaign. The fight for second, meanwhile, was moving more in BAR-Honda's favour with just two races to go, with the Anglo-Japanese squad moving nine ahead of Renault. They would therefore take the runner-up spot if they outscored the French manufacturer by nine in Japan, with third the worst that either squad could finish the season.
The full entry list for the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full practice results for the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:53.517||8||1:50.060||13|
The full qualifying results for the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:39.710||1:34.571||+1.029s|
|13||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:44.370||1:37.653||+4.111s|
|14||15||Christian Klien||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:42.054||1:38.258||+4.716s|
|16||18||Nick Heidfeld||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:42.434||1:41.953||+8.411s|
|17||19||Timo Glock||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:43.682||1:43.533||+9.991s|
|18||20||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:45.415||1:48.069||+14.527s|
|NC||21||Zsolt Baumgartner||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||—|
- Bold indicates their best/qualifying time.
|Juan Pablo Montoya||14|
- * Baumgartner started the race from the pitlane.
The full results for the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- Olivier Panis made his 158th and final Grand Prix start.
- BAR made their 100th Grand Prix appearance as a constructor.
- 50th race for Toyota as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Fernando Alonso made his 50th Grand Prix start.
- 83rd career victory for Michael Schumacher.
- This was also a record thirteenth win of the season for Schumacher.
- Ferrari claimed their 182nd win as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Jenson Button secured his tenth podium finish.
A thirteenth win of the season for Michael Schumacher left the German ace on 146 for the season, meaning just fifth in the final race of the season would take him past 150 points, a dauntingly impressive points haul. Behind, Rubens Barrichello had failed to score having already secured second in the title hunt, while Jenson Button had likewise already secured third before the battle of Japan. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, had inched closer to ensuring that he claimed fourth, inching six clear of Juan Pablo Montoya.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari ended the weekend on 254 points for the season, resulting in a huge 138 point lead over second placed BAR-Honda. The Anglo-Japanese squad themselves had all but guaranteed their spot as runners-up, needing to score just three points at the season finale in Brazil to beat Renault. The French squad were hence set to finish third, while Williams-BMW and McLaren-Mercedes would duel for fourth on the final day.
Only point scoring drivers 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 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 'Japanese GP 2004: Hurricane Michael blows 'em away', crash.net, (Crash Media Group, 10/10/2004), https://www.crash.net/f1/race-report/50333/1/japanese-gp-2004-hurricane-michael-blows-em-away, (Accessed 28/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Japan 2004: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/japon/engages.aspx, (Accessed 7/12/2019)
- ↑ '2004 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - PRACTICE 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/769/japan/practice-1.html, (Accessed 7/12/2019)
- ↑ '2004 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - PRACTICE 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/769/japan/practice-2.html, (Accessed 7/12/2019)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 'Japan 2004: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/japon/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 7/12/2019)
- ↑ '2004 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/769/japan/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 7/12/2019)
- ↑ '2004 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/769/japan/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 7/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Japan 2004: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/japon/classement.aspx, (Accessed 28/12/2019)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 '17. Japan 2004', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/japon.aspx, (Accessed 28/12/2019)
|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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