1095th F1 GRAND PRIX | 47th JAPANESE GRAND PRIX | 33rd GRAND PRIX AT SUZUKA
2022 POLESITTER: MAX VERSTAPPEN | 2022 WINNER: MAX VERSTAPPEN
F1’s only figure of eight circuit is back on the calendar in 2023. Suzuka ranks among the most challenging circuits to master. The 2023 Japanese Grand Prix is set to take place on September 22-24.
2023 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX: WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Friday 22nd September
Free Practice 1 – 11:30am Local Time / 3:30am UK Time
Free Practice 2 – 3:00pm Local Time / 7:00am UK Time
Saturday 23rd September
Free Practice 3 – 11:30am Local Time / 3:30am UK Time
Qualifying- 3:00pm Local Time / 7:00am UK Time
Sunday 24th September
The 2023 Japanese Grand Prix – 2:00pm Local Time / 6:00am UK Time
2023 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX: WEEKEND MILESTONES
The 2023 Japanese Grand Prix takes place on September 24, which is the earliest date in the year on which the Japanese Grand Prix has ever taken place. The event has been held in September only three times previously: in 2007 (at Fuji Speedway) and in 2015 (at Suzuka).
Lewis Hamilton will equal Michael Schumacher’s record of six Japanese Grand Prix victories if he wins the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.
Ferrari and McLaren are currently tied for most wins at Suzuka, with seven apiece. Either team could set a new outright record this weekend, while Mercedes could equal the existing record.
A top three finish for Lewis Hamilton will see him equal Michael Schumacher for most podiums at the Japanese Grand Prix. It would be his ninth top three finish at the event. He would not equal Schumacher’s record of most podiums at Suzuka however, as Hamilton took one of his top three results at Fuji Speedway.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 2023 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
WHAT HAS CHANGED AT THE CIRCUIT SINCE LAST YEAR?
Only minor changes have occurred at Suzuka since the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix. Resurfacing has been carried out between Turns 3 & 4 and at Turn 7, and new drainage has been installed at Turns 1 & 7.
HOW MANY DRS ZONES WILL THERE BE AT THE 2023 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX?
There’ll be two DRS zones at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix – one more than last year. The activation zones are on the main straight and on the run into the final chicane.
SUZUKA TRACK GUIDE
Mastering the flowing nature of Suzuka requires an enormous attention to detail. The only figure of eight circuit on Formula 1’s calendar is regarded as one of the most technically challenging of the year.
The Suzuka circuit was built as a test track for Japanese manufacturer Honda in 1962. The circuit, which was designed by John Hugenholtz, is situated 30 miles south-west of Nagoya. While Honda tested their latest motorbikes and cars, the track was seen as too good to be used only for testing, and so racing began at the circuit. For its first years of existence, the track was used only for national events. Formula 1 ventured into Japan in the mid-seventies with a couple of races at Fuji, before the death of a marshal in the 1977 race put a halt to the sport’s tenure there. Suzuka was finally placed on the calendar in 1987.
The elevation change around the track is one of the factors which makes Suzuka such a demanding track. The drivers travel downhill into the long first bend, before ascending up through the esses. Near the end of the track – after the drivers have passed over the circuit in the only figure of eight layout on the calendar – the drivers hurtle into 130R, which is one of the fastest corners of the year, taken at just under 190mph, before the cars approach the final chicane – the slowest section of the track.
WHO WILL BE IN THE 2023 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX PRESS CONFERENCES?
The world’s media will have the opportunity to talk to the drivers on Thursday. The drivers appearing in the press conference are:
Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)
Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
Lando Norris (McLaren)
Alex Albon (Williams)
Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
The media will also be talking to prominent members of Formula 1’s teams on Friday. The team members who will appear in the press conference are: Jonathan Eddolls (AlphaTauri), Ayao Komatsu (Haas), Andrew Shovlin (Mercedes), Bruno Famin (Alpine), Mike Krack (Aston Martin) and Christian Horner (Red Bull).
WHO WILL BE THE RACE DIRECTOR AT THE 2023 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX?
Niels Wittich will be the race director at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.
WHO WILL BE THE DRIVER STEWARD AT THE 2023 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX?
Each weekend a former Formula 1 driver, or a driver from another prominent series of motorsport, joins the stewards to help judge any incidents from a drivers’ perspective. The Driver Steward this weekend is Danny Sullivan.
WHICH TYRE COMPOUNDS WILL BE USED AT THE 2023 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX?
Pirelli have announced that the C1, C2 and C3 tyre compounds will be used at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix. The C1, C2 and C3 compounds were also used in 2022.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME AT THE JAPANESE GRAND PRIX?
Rain-soaked Suzuka hosted Formula 1 for the first time in three years and Verstappen claimed his second World Championship in a shortened Japanese Grand Prix.
Aquaplaning was an issue in opening practice for a wet Japanese Grand Prix weekend. Mick Schumacher crashed on his way back to the garage in the closing moments of the session. Fernando Alonso was fastest in the first on-track running at Suzuka in three years, while Mercedes topped the timesheets in Free Practice 2 – a session in which Nicholas Latifi mistook an access road for the track.
Weather conditions were drier on Saturday and it was Max Verstappen who set the pace in both final practice and qualifying. That was despite the Dutchman encountering a near-miss with Lando Norris when the McLaren driver was setting a fast lap. Sebastian Vettel impressed, reaching Q3 with Aston Martin on his final Suzuka outing.
More rain came on Sunday, with the Grand Prix starting in wet conditions. Verstappen led away at the front but there was chaos behind in the torrential conditions. First, Vettel found himself running through the gravel at Turn 1. Then, Carlos Sainz crashed later on Lap 1 and was lucky not to be collected by other oncoming cars. The Safety Car was deployed and the race was subsequently red-flagged for over two hours. Alex Albon also came to a stop on the opening lap, while Pierre Gasly was far from impressed after driving past a recovery vehicle unannounced on the circuit.
Racing finally resumed with just under 40 minutes remaining on the clock. Vettel and Latifi stopped for intermediate tyres as the race restarted, with the frontrunners following them in on the next lap. That left Fernando Alonso leading the race for a lap. Mick Schumacher almost led a lap too, but was overtaken on the line by the already-pitted Verstappen.
Schumacher plummeted down the order as those on intermediates caught up with the Haas. The Mercedes men were on the move, with both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton making up places with some textbook overtaking moves. Hamilton almost made contact with Esteban Ocon’s Alpine through 130R.
Verstappen dominated the race, winning the 28-lap race by over 27 seconds. On the final lap, third-placed Sergio Perez had caught Charles Leclerc in second. Despite some wheel-to-wheel action, Perez was unable to pass on track. However, Leclerc ran off track at the final chicane and was handed a post-race penalty for the incident, making it a Red Bull 1-2.
There was some confusion after the race over how many points would be awarded. As many had expected half points to be awarded for the shortened race, it was believed that Verstappen would be unable to win the title at Suzuka. However, the wording of the regulations – updated in 2022 – allowed full points to be awarded and Verstappen had done enough to clinch his second World Championship.
WHAT’S THE FASTEST EVER LAP AT THE JAPANESE GRAND PRIX?
Attending the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix? Learn more about visiting Suzuka in the F1Destinations Travel Guide.