2002 Japanese Grand Prix
|Race 17 of 17 in the 2002 Formula One season|
|Date||October 13, 2002|
|Official name||XXVIII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix|
|Location||Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Mie, Japan|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
5.807 km (3.608 mi)
|Distance||53 laps, 307.771 km (191.224 mi)|
|Time||1:36.125 on lap 15|
The 2002 Japanese Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Suzuka on October 13, 2002. It was the seventeenth and final round of the 2002 Formula One season. The race, contested over 53 laps, was won by Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher after starting from pole position. Rubens Barrichello finished second and Kimi Räikkönen completed the podium, in third place.
With both drivers and constructors title already decided, the fight in the championships now concentrates on the lower ranks.In the Drivers' Championship, Juan Pablo Montoya in 3rd is 5 points ahead of team-mate Ralf Schumacher and for Ralf to take 3rd he would need to either win the race provided that Montoya finishes lower that second or to finish second with Montoya out of David Coulthard has a slim chance of winning 3rd place but that can only happen if he wins the Japanese Grand Prix with Montoya finishing 3rd or lower. Coulthard could take 4th in the Championship by finishing 4th and ahead of Ralf Schumacher. Further down, a number of drivers will have a change to improve their final ranking but it will all depend on whether they can actually score points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari, Williams and McLaren have secured 1st to 3rd. Renault have almost clinched 4th as Sauber would need to win the race with their second car finishing in the points to take 4th and provided that Renault would not finish either of their cars in the points and that is nearly impossible. However with just 4 points separating 4 teams (Sauber on 11, Jaguar with 8 and both Honda runners BAR and Jordan with 7 points each), it will be a tough fight between those teams to decide the order in which they finish the season as the final ranking influences how much a team receives from the revenue of TV rights. Ferrari are expected to dominate this race and Michael Schumacher is expected to be to strong here for Rubens Barrichello to challenge. If Michael manages to win the race, he will not only improve his record number of wins in a season but will also have a perfect finishing record this season as Michael has not retired from any race so far in the season. That is an amazing record. The fight between Williams and McLaren will be very close. Williams will benefit from their BMW power but McLaren have been improving and this circuit will suit their chassis. Both teams have suffered from engine failures lately and that could influence the outcome of this race. Behind the top 3, Renault continue to score points left over from the top 3 teams while Sauber continues to struggle in the face of the tough competition. Jaguar struggled at the United States Grand Prix but they should do better here and both BAR and Jordan would be hoping to get a boost from Honda and Bridgestone at their home track. It is also the first Formula 1 race for Toyota at home and they would want to put on a strong showing with the aim of scoring a point or two so that they finish ahead of Minardi and Arrows in the championship.
In 2001, Michael Schumacher won the race starting from pole with Juan Pablo Montoya finishing a strong second while David Coulthard finishing in 3rd. Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher made the top 6. The top 3 teams took the top 6 places.
A number of teams were testing the previous week before the Grand Prix. McLaren, Williams, Toyota and BAR were at Barcelona and McLaren test driver Alexander Wurz broke the lap record there. Ferrari were testing at Mugello with Sauber and at Jerez and Fiorano while Renault and Jordan tested at Silverstone. The teams concentrated on set-up for the Grand Prix as well as testing components for the 2003 season.
Michael Schumacher grabbed his 7th pole position of the season and the 50th of his career ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. Kimi Räikkönen was 4th ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya. Takuma Sato managed 7th and his best ever qualifying ahead of his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella. Jacques Villeneuve was 9th with Jenson Button wrapping up the top 10.
The session was interrupted for over 75 minutes after Allan McNish appeared to have lost control of his car and crashed backwards through the safety barrier at the 130R curve. The back of his car was destroyed, luckily though he didn't sustain any major injuries. He qualified in 18th, however was unfit to start the race.
The fight for pole turned to be a no-contest with Michael Schumacher convincingly faster than anyone else here including his team-mate. The fight at the front was really between the other 5 drivers of the top 3 teams. For most of the session they appeared to be evenly matched however Barrichello, Coulthard and Räikkönen all managed to improve late in the session while Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya didn't and hence the final order.
Behind the top 3 teams, the Jordan team took the honours of the best of the rest thanks to a more powerful Honda engine. Takuma Sato impressed his home crowds by not just outqualifying his team-mate but also ending up in 7th and only 1.773 seconds off Michael's pace despite this being his first time on the track in a Formula 1 car. Behind Sato, it was close as expected with 1 second separating Sato in 7th and Massa in 15th.
In addition to McNish's crash, Olivier Panis and Eddie Irvine suffered from car problems and had to stop on the track. Panis managed to get back and use the spare but Irvine didn't.
In the battle of the team-mates, Mika Salo managed to qualify 1.449 seconds ahead of Allan McNish although McNish had his crash and only had 1 run. Jacques Villeneuve managed to qualify 0.843 seconds ahead of Olivier Panis but again Panis had car problems and had to switch to the spare and Michael Schumacher managed to out-qualify Rubens Barrichello by 0.432 seconds. Closest were Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya with just 0.063 seconds separating them. David Coulthard managed to be 0.109 seconds ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and Jenson Button was 0.118 seconds ahead of Jarno Trulli who also suffered a car problem on his final run.
Takuma Sato had his best qualifying position the season while Michael Schumacher once again equalled his best. Both Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya equalled their worst qualifying positions this season.
|6||6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:32.507||+1.190|
|17||17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar-Cosworth||1:34.227||+2.910|
|4||6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||53||+36.275||6||3|
|6||15||Jenson Button||Renault||52||+1 Lap||10||1|
|7||7||Nick Heidfeld||Sauber-Petronas||52||+1 Lap||12|
|8||24||Mika Salo||Toyota||52||+1 Lap||13|
|9||16||Eddie Irvine||Jaguar-Cosworth||52||+1 Lap||14|
|10||23||Mark Webber||Minardi-Asiatech||51||+2 Laps||19|
|Ret||17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar-Cosworth||39||Transmission||17|
|Ret||22||Alex Yoong||Minardi-Asiatech||14||Spun off||20|
|DNS||25||Allan McNish||Toyota||-||Injured in qualifying||18|
Standings after the race 
- Bold text indicates the World Champions.
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- McNish, Allan (13 October 2002). "McNish ruled out of Japanese GP". The Official Website of Allan McNish. Allan McNish. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "The Official Formula 1 website". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- "The Official FIA results". Retrieved 2008-03-25.
2002 United States Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2003 Australian Grand Prix
2001 Japanese Grand Prix
|Japanese Grand Prix||Next race:
2003 Japanese Grand Prix