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Japan  1997 Japanese Grand Prix
Race details
Race 16 of 17 in the 1997 Formula One season
Suzuka 1992.jpg
Date October 12, 1997
Official name XXIII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix
Location Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Mie, Japan
Course Permanent racing facility
5.860 km (3.641 mi)
Distance 53 laps, 310.596[1] km (192.995 mi)
Weather Sunny[1]
Pole position
Driver Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
Time 1:36.071[2]
Fastest lap
Driver Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault
Time 1:38.942 on lap 48[3]
First Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari
Second Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault
Third United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari

The 1997 Japanese Grand Prix (officially known as the XXIII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on October 12, 1997 at the Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka. It was the 16th and penultimate race of the 1997 Formula One season.[1] The race, contested over 53 laps, was won by Michael Schumacher for the Ferrari team after starting from second position. Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished second in a Williams, and Eddie Irvine third in the other Ferrari.[4 ]. Irvine led much of the race before moving over to assist Schumacher's championship battle by blocking Drivers' Championship leader Jacques Villeneuve.

Villeneuve started on pole position in a Williams car. Before the race, it emerged that Villeneuve had been put to the back of the grid, for having ignored waved yellow flags on two consecutive laps during a practice session for the race. Williams appealed and Villeneuve started from the pole. He drove a conservative race to finish 5th, gaining two points. After the race, Villeneuve was disqualified, meaning he lost the two points he originally earned.[5][6] Schumacher's win put him in front of Villeneuve in the championship on 78 points, with Villeneuve on 77 points.[1] However, as a result of Frentzen finishing second, Williams clinched the Constructors' Championship as Ferrari could not pass their points total with only one race remaining.[7]





Practice and qualifying

For each race in the 1997 Formula One season there were four practice sessions; two sessions on Friday and two sessions on Saturday morning. The practice sessions on Friday lasted an hour and the practice sessions on Saturday lasted 45 minutes.[8]

In the first practice session on Saturday morning, an incident occurred 30 minutes into the session. Jos Verstappen in a Tyrrell car pulled over to the side of the track with a fuel pick-up problem. The track marshals as a result waved yellow flags meaning that drivers should slow down at that part of the track. Despite the yellow flags, nine drivers, including Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, never slowed down. Villeneuve in the process, set his fastest time of the session on that lap.[2]

"I clearly saw the yellow flag. If they had been waved in a corner, I would have slowed down. But on a straight it was not necessary."
Jacques Villeneuve, commenting on not slowing down under a yellow flag zone during the first Saturday practice session.[2]

Villeneuve set pole position with a time of 1:36.071, half a tenth faster than Schumacher, who was second in the Ferrari setting a time of 1:36.133. Schumacher's team-mate, Eddie Irvine, qualified third half a second behind Villeneuve. McLaren driver Mika Häkkinen rounded out the top four, only three thousands of a second behind Irvine. The Benetton drivers were fifth and seventh; Gerhard Berger ahead of Jean Alesi. Heinz-Harald Frentzen in a Williams split the two in sixth, six tenths behind Villeneuve.[2]



Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired[4 ] Grid Points
1 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 53 1:29:48.446 2 10
2 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 53 +1.378 6 6
3 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 53 +26.384 3 4
4 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 53 +27.129 4 3
5 7 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 53 +40.403 7 2
6 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 53 +41.630 8 1
7 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 53 +56.825 9  
8 8 Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 53 +1:00.429 5  
9 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 53 +1:22.036 13  
10 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 52 Engine 11  
11 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill Arrows-Yamaha 52 +1 lap 17  
12 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz Arrows-Yamaha 52 +1 lap 16  
13 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 52 +1 lap 21  
DSQ 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 53 Disqualified 1  
Ret 21 Brazil Tarso Marques Minardi-Hart 46 Gearbox 20  
Ret 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 46 Engine 22  
Ret 14 France Olivier Panis Prost-Mugen-Honda 36 Engine 10  
Ret 15 Japan Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen-Honda 22 Wheel bearing 15  
Ret 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 8 Engine 19  
Ret 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 6 Spun off 12  
Ret 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 3 Spun off 14  
DNS 17 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Sauber-Petronas 0 Injury  

Standings after the race

Note, only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

Drivers' Championship standings[1]
Pos Driver Points
1 Germany Michael Schumacher 78
2 Canada Jacques Villeneuve 77
3 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen 41
4 France Jean Alesi 35
5 United Kingdom David Coulthard 30
Constructors' Championship standings[1]
Pos Constructor Points
1 United Kingdom Williams-Renault 120
2 Italy Ferrari 100
3 United Kingdom Benetton-Renault 63
4 United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 41
5 Republic of Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 28


  1. ^ a b c d e f Domenjoz, Luc. Formula 1 Yearbook - 1997-98 (8th edition ed.). Parragon. p. 209. ISBN 0-75252-386-4.  
  2. ^ a b c d Domenjoz, Luc. Formula 1 Yearbook - 1997-98 (8th edition ed.). Parragon. p. 204. ISBN 0-75252-386-4.  
  3. ^ Domenjoz, Luc. Formula 1 Yearbook - 1997-98 (8th edition ed.). Parragon. p. 205. ISBN 0-75252-386-4.  
  4. ^ a b "1997 Japanese Grand Prix". The Official Formula 1 Website. Retrieved 2008-05-09.  
  5. ^ "Villeneuve in trouble". 1997-10-13. Retrieved 2008-05-09.  
  6. ^ "Williams drops its appeal". 1997-10-20. Retrieved 2008-05-09.  
  7. ^ "Grand Prix Results: Japanese GP, 1997". Retrieved 2008-05-09.  
  8. ^ Domenjoz, Luc. Formula 1 Yearbook - 1997-98 (8th edition ed.). Parragon. p. 220. ISBN 0-75252-386-4. "
    119. Free practice will take place:
    a) two days (Monaco : three days) before the race from 11.00 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 14.00.
    b) the day before the race from 09.00 to 09.45 and from 10.15 to 11.00"
Previous race:
1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1997 season
Next race:
1997 European Grand Prix
Previous race:
1996 Japanese Grand Prix
Japanese Grand Prix Next race:
1998 Japanese Grand Prix


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