Mercedes have won every Japanese Grand Prix since 2014, Ferrari have taken just five podiums in the last twelve races at the track and McLaren haven’t scored here in the last five seasons. Here’s how the teams’ histories compare at the Suzuka circuit!
Mercedes have won all of the last five Japanese Grands Prix and have secured 1-2 finishes in 2014, 2015 and 2018. Valtteri Bottas’ fourth place finish in 2017 is the only time a Mercedes driver has failed to finish on the podium at Suzuka in the hybrid era. Since Mercedes returned to the sport in 2010, 2012 is the only season where neither Mercedes have failed to score at the track with Michael Schumacher finishing eleventh and Nico Rosberg retiring. Rosberg’s crash in 2010 and Lewis Hamilton’s early exit from the 2013 race are Mercedes’ only other retirements here.
Mercedes have locked-out the front row in qualifying at Suzuka in all of the last five seasons, but a gearbox change for Valtteri Bottas in 2017 saw him demoted to sixth on the grid. Nico Rosberg recorded the team’s worst qualifying performance here to date in 2011, when he exited in Q1 after failing to set a lap time due to technical difficulties. Mercedes’ double Q1 exit in 2012 marks the only other occasions where their cars have failed to reach the final part of qualifying at Suzuka.
Ferrari are currently tied with McLaren for the most victories at Suzuka, despite not having won a race here since 2004. The team won five races in a row here between 2000 and 2004, but have had only five podium visits since then. Their last podium here came courtesy of Sebastian Vettel in 2015. 2014 marks the only time in the last 21 Suzuka races that Ferrari have failed to score, with their only other point-less visits to the track coming as a result of double DNFs in 1989, 1990 1993 and 1995.
Ferrari have taken more poles than any other team at Suzuka, with nine in total. Since 2006, there have been only three occasions where a Ferrari driver has failed to reach the final part of qualifying at the Suzuka circuit, while Giancarlo Fisichella recorded the team’s only Q1 exit here in 2009. The team’s last front row qualification here came in 2006, which was also the last time the team locked-out the front row at the circuit. While the team haven’t qualified on the front row since then, Sebastian Vettel started from second on the grid in 2017 as a result of Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty.
Between 2009 and 2013, Red Bull scored four wins at the Suzuka circuit. The team have finished on the podium at the track in all of the last three seasons, and 2014 is the only occasion in the last ten Japanese Grands Prix that a Red Bull driver has failed to finish in the top three. 2006 and 2015 are the only years where Red Bull have left Suzuka having not scored a point, while David Coulthard’s retirement with gearbox problems in 2006 remains the team’s only DNF at the circuit, giving them the highest finish rate of any current team.
Daniel Ricciardo’s Q2 exit last year marked the first time a Red Bull driver had failed to reach the final part of qualifying at Suzuka since 2009. The team took five consecutive pole positions at the track between 2009 and 2013, and locked-out the front row in 2010, 2012 and 2013. They haven’t qualified on the front row since then.
Last season, Carlos Sainz scored Renault’s first point at the Japanese Grand Prix since their return to the sport in 2016. Renault have previously won here with Fernando Alonso in 2006, with his team-mate also finishing third that year. Both Renault drivers finished on the podium in 2005 too, with Giancarlo Fisichella losing the lead to Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the race. The team have recorded one DNF in each of the last two seasons, while 2010 marks the only year where both of their cars have failed to finish the event.
Renault have never taken pole at the Suzuka circuit, and have failed to reach the final part of qualifying here since their F1 return. Giancarlo Fisichella’s third on the grid in 2005 remains the team’s best qualifying effort here so far. 2006 and 2011 are the only seasons where both Renault drivers have qualified in the top ten at the circuit.
From their three visits to Suzuka so far, Haas have scored in two races, including with both cars in 2017. A Haas driver is yet to finish above eighth here, with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean each finishing in that position in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Last year, Magnussen recorded the team’s first DNF at the circuit.
In their first Japanese Grand Prix appearance, Haas reached the final part of qualifying with both cars. It’s a feat that they have failed to repeat since, though Romain Grosjean recorded the team’s best qualifying position here so far in 2018 with fifth.
McLaren are tied with Ferrari as the most successful team at Suzuka, with Jenson Button most recently winning for the team here in 2011. McLaren have failed to score at the Japanese Grand Prix since 2014, though they haven’t recorded a retirement at the circuit since 2005. 1989 and 1990 are the only seasons where both McLaren cars haven’t been classified in the result here. Ayrton Senna was controversially disqualified from the title-deciding race at the track in 1989, handing the title to team-mate Alain Prost.
Since 2015, Fernando Alonso’s tenth place in qualifying in 2017 is the only time a McLaren driver has reached the final part of qualifying at the circuit – though the Spaniard started from the back of the grid following a 35-place grid penalty. Last season, both Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were eliminated in Q1. McLaren have taken pole position four times at Suzuka, all consecutively between 1988 and 1991. Since then, they have qualified on the front row only four times at the track.
Racing Point (Force India)
Force India have scored at all of the last six Japanese Grands Prix, with Sergio Perez’s twelfth place in 2015 being the only time a Force India driver has failed to score at the track since 2013. The team have never finished above sixth here – which is the position which Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon finished in for the team in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Force India recorded just two DNFs at the circuit, both in 2010.
Force India reached the final part of qualifying with both cars in all of the last three seasons at Suzuka. Adrian Sutil’s fourth place here on Force India’s first appearance at the track in 2009 remains their best qualifying showing at the track.
Alfa Romeo (Sauber)
Kamui Kobayashi scored a popular home podium with Sauber in 2012, which is the team’s only top three finish so far at the circuit. 2013 is the last season in which Sauber scored a point at the Japanese Grand Prix, with the team managing a best of only twelfth in the last five seasons and recording four DNFs.
Charles Leclerc reached Q2 with Sauber in 2018, becoming the first driver for the team to not be eliminated in the first part of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix since 2013. 2012 is the only season where both Sauber drivers have reached the final part of qualifying at the Suzuka circuit, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen recorded the team’s best qualifying here with third on the grid back in 1994.
A Toro Rosso driver has never finished above ninth place at Suzuka, and the team have scored only seven points from their eleven appearances at the track. 2015 is the most recent points-scoring Japanese Grand Prix for the team, and the only race here where both of their drivers have scored. 2009 is the only season where both Toro Rosso drivers have failed to reach the end of the race.
Last season saw both Toro Rosso drivers reach the final part of qualifying at Suzuka for the first time in the team’s history. Before that, Sebastien Buemi was the only other Toro Rosso driver to have reached Q3 at the track, having done so in 2009. With sixth on the grid last year, Brendon Hartley is the team’s best qualifier so far at the circuit.
Last year marked the first time since 2013 that Williams have failed to pick up points at the Japanese Grand Prix. The team won at the track three times during the 1990s, and have taken ten podium finishes, their most recent being with Ralf Schumacher in 2004. 1987 and 1995 are the only occasions where neither Williams driver has reached the end of the race at Suzuka.
Williams have taken four pole positions at Suzuka, and locked-out the front row in 1992 and 1996. 2010, 2014 and 2015 are the only years where both Williams drivers have reached the final part of qualifying here, with Valtteri Bottas qualifying in third for the team in each of the latter two years. One Williams car has been eliminated in Q1 in each of the last two seasons.
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.