1976 Japanese Grand Prix

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Japan  1976 Japanese Grand Prix
Race details
Race 16 of 16 in the 1976 Formula One season
Fuji-Historical-1976-1977.svg
Date October 24, 1976
Official name XI Japanese Grand Prix
Location Fuji Speedway, Oyama, Shizuoka Japan
Course Permanent racing facility
4.359 km (2.70 mi)
Distance 73 laps, 319.690 km (197.72 mi)
Weather Very wet and misty, eventually drying
Pole position
Driver United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford
Time 1:12.77
Fastest lap
Driver Japan Masahiro Hasemi2 Kojima-Ford
Time 1:18.23 on lap 25
Podium
First United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford
Second France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford
Third United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford

The 1976 Japanese Grand Prix1 was a Formula One race held at Fuji on October 24, 1976.

The 1976 World Championship was to be decided at the Mount Fuji circuit, with Niki Lauda just three points ahead of James Hunt after a season full of incidents including Lauda's near-fatal crash at the Nürburgring and subsequent missed races.

The field was almost unchanged from the previous race, but Noritake Takahara rented the second Surtees replacing Brett Lunger and Hans Binder was back in the second Wolf Williams after Masami Kuwashima's money failed to materialize. Maki resurrected its Formula One car for Tony Trimmer while Heros Racing entered an old Tyrrell for Kazuyoshi Hoshino. Kojima Engineering entered a locally-built chassis for Masahiro Hasemi (on Dunlop tyres).

Mario Andretti took pole position in the Lotus 77 with Hunt on second place and Lauda third. Then came John Watson's Penske, Jody Scheckter, Carlos Pace, Clay Regazzoni and Vittorio Brambilla. The top 10 was completed by Ronnie Peterson and Hasemi. The Maki failed to qualify.

On race day the weather was very wet with fog and running water at several places on the track. There were intense debates as to whether the race should be started; in the end the organisers decided to go ahead and a majority of drivers did not disagree. Some drivers, including Niki Lauda, were not happy with the decision.

James Hunt took the lead from the start with John Watson and Mario Andretti behind. In the second lap Watson slid down an escape road and Lauda drove into the pits to withdraw, as he believed the weather conditions made the track too dangerous. He later said "my life is worth more than a title". Larry Perkins made a similar decision after one lap as did Carlos Pace and Emerson Fittipaldi later in the race.

Hunt continued to lead, behind him second place passed between Andretti and Brambilla. On lap 22 Brambilla challenged for the lead but spun off. Jochen Mass assumed second place promising a McLaren 1-2 but he crashed on the 36th lap and so Patrick Depailler moved into second place with Andretti third.

It seemed Hunt was on for an easy win, but as the track began to dry he started to lose positions. He only needed a fourth place to win the title, because of Lauda's retirement. On lap 62 Hunt fell behind Depailler and Andretti, but two laps later Depailler's left rear tyre started to deflate and he had to pit. Andretti took the lead, but then Hunt had a similar tyre problem. Hunt pitted, dropped to fifth and set off after Depailler, Alan Jones and Regazzoni. Depailler overtook both drivers on lap 70 and on the next lap Hunt did the same and won the World Drivers' Championship, to his surprise.

Ferrari won the Constructors' Championship despite Lauda's retirement.

Classification[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 73 1:43:58.86 1 9
2 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 72 + 1 Lap 13 6
3 11 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford 72 + 1 Lap 2 4
4 19 Australia Alan Jones Surtees-Ford 72 + 1 Lap 20 3
5 2 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 72 + 1 Lap 7 2
6 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Ford 72 + 1 Lap 16 1
7 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 72 + 1 Lap 11  
8 24 Austria Harald Ertl Hesketh-Ford 72 + 1 Lap 22  
9 18 Japan Noritake Takahara Surtees-Ford 70 + 3 Laps 24  
10 17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford 69 + 4 Laps 15  
11 51 Japan Masahiro Hasemi Kojima-Ford 66 + 7 Laps 10  
Ret 3 South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford 58 Overheating 5  
Ret 21 Austria Hans Binder Wolf-Williams-Ford 49 Wheel 25  
Ret 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Shadow-Ford 46 Energy 14  
Ret 9 Italy Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford 38 Electrical 8  
Ret 34 Germany Hans Joachim Stuck March-Ford 37 Electrical 18  
Ret 12 Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford 35 Accident 12  
Ret 28 United Kingdom John Watson Penske-Ford 33 Engine 4  
Ret 52 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Tyrrell-Ford 27 Tyre 21  
Ret 20 Italy Arturo Merzario Wolf-Williams-Ford 23 Gearbox 19  
Ret 30 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 9 Withdrew 23  
Ret 8 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo 7 Withdrew 6  
Ret 1 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari 2 Withdrew 3  
Ret 7 Australia Larry Perkins Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1 Withdrew 17  
Ret 10 Sweden Ronnie Peterson March-Ford 0 Engine 9  
DNS 21 Japan Masami Kuwashima Wolf-Williams-Ford        
DNQ 54 United Kingdom Tony Trimmer Maki-Ford        

Notes[edit]

  • ^ In Japan, the formal name of this Formula One event is not "Japanese Grand Prix" but is "Formula One World Championship in Japan" (F1世界選手権・イン・ジャパン), because an event of the Japanese Formula 2000 championship had been named "Japanese Grand Prix" in 1976.
  • ^ It was announced that the fastest lap was set by Masahiro Hasemi on lap 25, but this was a measurement mistake, and, several days later, the circuit issued a press release to correct the fastest lap holder of the race to Jacques Laffite with a time of 1:19.97 on lap 70.[1] This release was promptly known in Japan, and the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) and Japanese media correct the record.[2][3] But, this correction was not known well outside Japan, thus, Hasemi has been treated as the fastest lap record holder of the race in many record books including the Formula One official website.[4]
  • Niki Lauda and James Hunt went into this race with a chance of winning the title.
    • Lauda (68 pts) needed either:
      • to finish ahead of Hunt
      • 3rd with Hunt 2nd or lower
      • 4th or 5th with Hunt 3rd or lower
      • 6th with Hunt 4th or lower
      • Hunt 5th or lower
    • Hunt (65 pts) needed either:
      • 1st
      • 2nd with Lauda 4th or lower
      • 3rd with Lauda 6th or lower
      • 4th with Lauda 7th or lower

In the case of a tie in points, Hunt had the advantage in number of wins (6 vs 5). So, after Lauda's retirement, Hunt only needed the three points of 4th place to win the title.

Standings after the race[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 7 results from the first 8 races and the best 7 results from the last 8 races counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.

References[edit]

  1. ^ i-dea archives (14 January 2006), '76 F1イン・ジャパン (1976 F1 World Championship in Japan), AUTO SPORT Archives 日本の名レース100選 (The 100 Best races in Japan) (in Japanese), Vol. 001, San-eishobo Publishing Co.,Ltd., p. 77, ISBN 978-4-7796-0007-4, archived from the original on 13 December 2010, retrieved 16 December 2010 
  2. ^ "Motorsport competition results: 1976 F1 World Championship in Japan" (in Japanese). Japan Automobile Federation. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  3. ^ "Archive: 1976 F1 World Championship in Japan" (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports News. 1976-10-25 (original issued date). Retrieved 2010-12-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "1976 Japanese Grand Prix". Formula One Administration Ltd. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 


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1976 United States Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
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