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Race information - Japan 2016 - All you need to know about the racing in Suzuka

Published by Christine

Less than a week after Daniel Ricciardo took a surprise victory in Malaysia, we're gearing up for the Japanese Grand Prix, with Suzuka set to play host to the latest round in the F1 2016 World Championship. The end of the season is drawing ever closer but we still have a lot of racing to squeeze in between now and then. Thankfully, Japan often offers up some great racing, although it's an event that has been mired by bad weather in the past.

Event schedule

For UK viewers, the Japanese Grand Prix takes place early in the morning, but it might just be worth getting up on your Sunday morning for. Nico Rosberg extended his championship lead last weekend, after Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes engine gave up on his way to race victory. After an emotional outburst that saw him question why only he is suffering the bad luck this year, he and his team are back on the same page and looking for results this weekend in Suzuka.

Ricciardo's race victory has helped him move into a comfortable third place in the standings, and Red Bull now have the edge over Ferrari, but the battle is still ongoing between the two teams and there's still plenty to watch on that front.

Jolyon Palmer picked up his first point in Sepang, which gave his hopes of continuing in the sport a boost. It's worth keeping a beady eye on the lower end of the midfield, as the drivers need to impress in these last few races to keep their seats for the coming season. There are plenty of young guns looking to replace them!

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
07 OctFridayFree Practice 102:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00
Free Practice 206:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00
08 OctSaturdayFree Practice 304:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00
09 OctSundayGrand Prix06:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +09:00

Support racing for this event includes Porsche Carrera Cup Japan and Super FJ.

Expected conditions

October in Japan is all about variable weather conditions, as you can see high temperatures, colder fronts moving in, and plenty of rain across the week. Apparently typhoon season is waning at this point in the year, but we have certainly seen plenty of rain during race weekends here in the past.

Cloudy periodically clear

Suzuka, Friday


  • Low 15℃
  • Humidity 65%

Cloudy periodically clear

Cloudy with brief rain

Suzuka, Saturday


  • Low 17℃
  • Humidity 80%

Cloudy with brief rain

Significant risk of rain

Suzuka, Sunday


  • Low 17℃
  • Humidity 75%

Significant risk of rain

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitSuzuka Circuit
TimezoneGMT +09:00
Race debut1987
Length5.807 km
Distance307.471 km
Line offset0.300 km

The Japanese Grand Prix, of which this is the 32nd edition, has been held at Fuji and at Suzuka, occasionally alternating between the two but staying at the latter in more recent seasons. This year, the drainage has been improved at several areas around the track, and there have been fencing improvements as well, but no major changes have occurred to the circuit itself.

McLaren have the most race victories in Japan overall, but if you're talking specifically at Suzuka then McLaren and Ferrari are tied with seven wins apiece. Although racing can be exciting around Japan, pole position turns out to be quite an important factor in success. Suzuka has only seen one driver win from beyond the first three rows, and that was Kimi Räikkönen in 2005 - coming from 17th on the grid.

The front row is equally useful, with second place actually taking race victory for the last three events. The only drivers on the current grid who have won a race in Japan are all world champions - Räikkönen, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Jenson Button.

Results for the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix
Free Practice 1Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso1:49.434
Free Practice 2Daniil KvyatInfiniti Red Bull Racing1:48.277
Free Practice 3Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:33.995
QualifyingNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:32.584
Grand PrixLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:28:06.508
Fastest lapLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:36.145

Tyre compounds

For the second weekend in a row, we've got the hard compounds on offer, with drivers selecting a range of two, three or four sets of the orange sidewalls each. Sebastian Vettel has gone for a unique selection, with just one medium set and a focus on the yellow softs instead.

The two Red Bull drivers, as well as the two Manor boys, have opted for just six sets of soft tyres, compared to the Ferrari duo's nine each. Importantly, Hamilton and Rosberg have opted for different strategies, as have Vettel and Räikkönen, as well as the two Williams drivers.

Selected tyre sets per driver
Hard tyreMedium tyreSoft tyre
Lewis Hamilton328
Nico Rosberg238
Sebastian Vettel319
Kimi Räikkönen229
Valtteri Bottas337
Felipe Massa247
Daniel Ricciardo436
Max Verstappen436
Nico Hülkenberg427
Sergio Pérez427
Kevin Magnussen427
Jolyon Palmer337
Daniil Kvyat427
Carlos Sainz337
Marcus Ericsson238
Felipe Nasr238
Fernando Alonso337
Jenson Button337
Pascal Wehrlein346
Esteban Ocon346
Romain Grosjean337
Esteban Gutiérrez247

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
ThursdayFernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda
Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Jolyon PalmerRenault Sport F1 Team
Kimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari
Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso
Pascal WehrleinManor Racing MRT
FridayBob BellRenault Sport F1 Team
Luigi FraboniScuderia Ferrari
Yusuke HasegawaHonda Motor Co. Ltd
Ayao KomatsuHaas F1 Team
Paddy LoweMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Pat SymondsWilliams Martini Racing
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
Garry ConnellyDeputy President of the FIA Institute, Director of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety, F1 and WTCC Steward, and FIA World Motorsport Council Member.
Emanuele PirroF1 driver 1989-1991 for Benetton and Scuderia Italia, McLaren test driver and five-time Le Mans winner with Audi.
Vincenzo SpanoPresident of the Sporting Commission of the Automobile and Touring Club of Venezuela.

All content in the series Japan 2016