Mercedes have won all of the last six races at Suzuka, Ferrari have not won here since 2004 and the former Sauber team have gone the longest without scoring. Here’s everything you need to know about each team’s history at the Japanese Grand Prix!
WINS: 6, POLES: 5, PODIUMS: 11 | 2019 RESULT: BOTTAS 1st, HAMILTON 3rd
Mercedes have won all of the last six 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 both Mercedes drivers 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 locked-out the front row in qualifying at Suzuka in every season between 2014 and 2018, but neither Lewis Hamilton nor Valtteri Bottas qualified on the front row in 2019. While Bottas qualified second in 2017, a gearbox change 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 occasion where their cars have failed to reach the final part of qualifying at Suzuka.
WINS: 4, POLES: 5, PODIUMS: 12 | 2019 RESULT: ALBON 4th, VERSTAPPEN DNF
Between 2009 and 2013, Red Bull scored four wins at the Suzuka circuit. 2019 marked the first time since 2015 that neither driver finished on the podium at the Japanese Grand Prix. While Max Verstappen retired, Alex Albon finished fourth. 2014 is the only other occasion in the last eleven Japanese Grands Prix that neither Red Bull driver has finished in the top three. 2006 and 2015 are the only years where Red Bull have left Suzuka having not scored a point, while Verstappen’s DNF in 2019 was their first since David Coulthard’s retirement with gearbox problems in 2006.
In the last ten Suzuka races, Daniel Ricciardo’s Q2 exit in 2018 is the only time a Red Bull has failed to reach Q3. 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.
WINS: 7, POLES: 10, PODIUMS: 20 | 2019 RESULT: VETTEL 2nd, LECLERC 6th
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 six podium visits since then. Sebastian Vettel finished as runner-up in 2019, scoring the team’s first podium at the track since he finished third in 2015. 2014 marks the only time in the last 22 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. In 2019, the team took pole and locked-out the front row at the circuit for the first time since 2006. It was the first time either of their drivers had qualified on the front row here since 2006 – though Sebastian Vettel started from second in 2017 as a result of Valtteri Bottas’ grid slot. 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.
WINS: 7, POLES: 4, PODIUMS: 22 | 2019 RESULT: SAINZ 5th, NORRIS 11th
McLaren are tied with Ferrari as the most successful team at Suzuka, with Jenson Button most recently winning for the team here in 2011. In 2019, Carlos Sainz finished fifth at Suzuka, recording McLaren’s first points here since 2014, when Jenson Button also finished fifth. The team have not recorded a DNF at the track since 2005, which also the last time that they won at Suzuka, with Kimi Raikkonen taking victory on the final victory. 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.
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. In 2019, both McLaren drivers reached Q3 at the Japanese Grand Prix for the first time since 2014. Between those two seasons, Fernando Alonso’s tenth place in qualifying in 2017 was 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. 2018 is the only season that McLaren have recorded a double Q1 elimination here.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2019 RESULT: RICCIARDO DSQ, HULKENBERG DSQ
In 2018, Carlos Sainz scored Renault’s first point at the Japanese Grand Prix since their return to the sport in 2016. The Enstone team have won here four times – in 1989, 1990, 1995 and 2006. 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 recorded one DNF in both 2017 and 2018, while 2010 marked the first time since 1993 that both of their cars have failed to finish the event. In 2019, both Renault drivers were disqualified from the race after illegal driver aids were found on their cars. Daniel Ricciardo had finished sixth, while Nico Hulkenberg had finished tenth.
The Enstone team have recorded pole position at Suzuka twice – both by Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995. The team has not reached Q3 at the circuit since they were in their Lotus guise in 2015. 2012 is the last time that both of the team’s cars reached Q3 at the Japanese Grand Prix. In Renault’s comeback stint, 2017 was the only time that neither car was eliminated in Q1.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2019 RESULT: GASLY 7th, KVYAT 10th
In 2019, Pierre Gasly finished seventh in the Japanese Grand Prix. It marked the first time a Toro Rosso driver had finished above ninth at the Suzuka circuit. With Daniil Kvyat also finishing tenth, it was the second time that both of the team’s cars have finished in the points at the track. The only other time both drivers have scored was in 2015. 2009 is the only season where both Toro Rosso drivers have failed to reach the end of the race.
Toro Rosso have recorded Q3 appearances only four times at Suzuka; three of those times being in the last two races here. 2018 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. Pierre Gasly qualified ninth in 2019. With sixth on the grid in 2018, Brendon Hartley is the team’s best qualifier so far at the circuit.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2019 RESULT: PEREZ 8th, STROLL 9th
In five of the last six Suzuka races, both of the Silverstone-based team’s cars have scored points at the Japanese Grand Prix. Force India’s double points finish at the circuit in 2015 was the team’s first double points finish at Suzuka since they were in their Jordan guise back in 1993. Sergio Perez’s twelfth place n 2015 is the only time one of the team’s drivers has failed to score at the track since 2013. The team have never finished above fourth here – and Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon’s sixth place for the team in 2015 and 2017 respectively are the only times this team has finished in the top six here since the end of Eddie Jordan’s tenure. In the past eleven races at the circuit, 2010 – in which both cars retired – is the only time that the team has recorded a retirement at the track.
The Silverstone-based team reached Q3 with both cars in every season between 2016 and 2018. Racing Point failed to qualify in the top ten in 2019. Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Adrian Sutil’s fourth places here for Jordan in 1999 and Force India in 2009 respectively remain the team’s best qualifying showing at the track. In 2019, Lance Stroll recorded the Silverstone-based team’s first Q1 exit at the track since 2013.
WINS: 3, POLES: 4, PODIUMS: 10 | 2019 RESULT: RUSSELL 16th, KUBICA 17th
Williams have not scored at the Japanese Grand Prix since 2017. In all of the last three races in which Williams have failed to score here (2013, 2018 and 2019) their drivers have finished in sixteenth and seventeenth. 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. In the last nine Suzuka races, Lance Stroll’s DNF in 2017 has been Williams’ only retirement at the circuit.
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. At least one Williams car has been eliminated in Q1 in all of their last three visits to the track. 2019 marked the first time that both Williams have been out in Q1 at the circuit.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2019 RESULT: RAIKKONEN 12th, GIOVINAZZI 14th
The former Sauber team have not scored at the Japanese Grand Prix since 2013. 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. The team have managed a best of only twelfth in the last six Suzuka races and have recorded four DNFs during that time.
Just like points, Q3 appearances have been hard to come by for the former Sauber team in recent seasons. They have not appeared in Q3 here since 2013. 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. Both drivers were eliminated in Q2 in 2019. 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.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2019 RESULT: GROSJEAN 13th, MAGNUSSEN 15th
From their four 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. Magnussen recorded the team’s first, and so far only, DNF at the circuit in 2018. Both cars finished without scoring in 2016 and 2019.
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 and he reached Q3 again in 2019 with tenth. Haas have recorded two Q1 exits at the circuit, in 2017 and 2019. Grosjean was eliminated in Q1 at the track in 2017, while Kevin Magnussen was out in Q1 in 2019. The Dane failed to set a time after crashing out.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. 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 Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.