1977 Japanese Grand Prix

The 1977 Japanese Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 23 October 1977 at Fuji. It was the 17th and final race of the 1977 Formula One World Championship. At the time, this was the last Japanese Grand Prix due to traveling and financial issues, and safety concerns with the Fuji circuit, it was also the last Japanese Grand Prix to be held at Fuji Speedway until 2007. The race would return in 1987, held at the better spectated and safer Suzuka Circuit.[1]

1977 Japanese Grand Prix
Race 17 of 17 in the 1977 Formula One season
Race details
Date 23 October 1977
Official name XII Japanese Grand Prix
Location Fuji Speedway
Oyama, Shizuoka, Japan
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.359 km (2.709 mi)
Distance 73 laps, 318.207 km (197.757 mi)
Weather Dry
Pole position
Driver Lotus-Ford
Time 1:12.23
Fastest lap
Driver South Africa Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford
Time 1:14.30 on lap 71
First McLaren-Ford
Second Ferrari
Third Tyrrell-Ford


Mario Andretti and James Hunt continued their late-season battle, with the American pipping Hunt to the pole, with John Watson heading the second row. Hunt took the lead at the start, and Jody Scheckter and Jochen Mass jumped up to second and third, whereas Andretti had a terrible start and was at the tail of the top ten. On the second lap, Andretti was involved in a collision while trying to gain places, putting him out with Binder and Takahara. With Andretti out, Hunt had no challengers left and he built a large gap, with teammate Mass second and Watson passing Scheckter for third. However, both Mass and Watson had to retire within one lap of each other with engine and gearbox failures, and with Scheckter dropping back, Carlos Reutemann was second until he was passed by Jacques Laffite. Hunt went on and capped off the season with a comfortable win, whereas Laffite ran of fuel on the last lap, handing over second to Reutemann and allowing Patrick Depailler to complete the podium.

A marshal and photographer were killed by debris following a collision involving Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari and Ronnie Peterson's Tyrrell P34 on lap five. They had both been standing in a prohibited area of the track when the accident occurred.[2]

After the race concluded, both Hunt and Reutemann left the circuit immediately to catch a flight home, leaving Depailler and his engineer on the podium.[3][4] Rules changed shortly thereafter making the podium celebration mandatory.

March's driver Ian Scheckter was expelled from Japan due to only having a tourist visa passport (unlike his brother Jody Scheckter, who had a working visa) and Japanese objections to the South African apartheid regime.[5]


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1   James Hunt McLaren-Ford 73 1:31:51.68 2 9
2 12   Carlos Reutemann Ferrari 73 + 1:02.45 7 6
3 4   Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 73 + 1:06.39 15 4
4 17   Alan Jones Shadow-Ford 73 + 1:06.61 12 3
5 26   Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 72 Out of Fuel 5 2
6 16   Riccardo Patrese Shadow-Ford 72 + 1 Lap 13 1
7 8   Hans-Joachim Stuck Brabham-Alfa Romeo 72 + 1 Lap 4
8 19   Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Ford 71 + 2 Laps 9
9 50   Kunimitsu Takahashi Tyrrell-Ford 71 + 2 Laps 22
10 20   Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford 71 + 2 Laps 6
11 52   Kazuyoshi Hoshino Kojima-Ford 71 + 2 Laps 11
12 9   Alex Ribeiro March-Ford 69 + 4 Laps 23
Ret 6   Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Ford 63 Gearbox 14
Ret 22   Clay Regazzoni Ensign-Ford 43 Engine 10
Ret 7   John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo 29 Gearbox 3
Ret 2   Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford 28 Engine 8
Ret 23   Patrick Tambay Ensign-Ford 14 Engine 16
Ret 3   Ronnie Peterson Tyrrell-Ford 5 Accident 18
Ret 11   Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 5 Accident 20
Ret 27   Jean-Pierre Jarier Ligier-Matra 3 Engine 17
Ret 5   Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 1 Collision 1
Ret 51   Noritake Takahara Kojima-Ford 1 Collision 19
Ret 18   Hans Binder Surtees-Ford 1 Collision 21


  • Lap leaders: James Hunt 73 laps (1–73).
  • This race was the tenth and final victory for 1976 World Champion James Hunt.
  • This race was the final race of Gunnar Nilsson's career, before his death from cancer in 1978.
  • First point for Riccardo Patrese.
  • This was the last Formula One World Championship race to feature a car that used Dunlop tyres, namely Kunimitsu Takahashi's privately-entered Tyrrell.[7]
  • Team Lotus used a special red livery for this race, promoting parent company Imperial Tobacco instead of usual sponsor John Player Special.
  • This was the second and final entry for the Japanese Kojima Engineering team having also entered the previous year's Japanese Grand Prix.

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 8 results from the first 9 races and the best 7 results from the remaining 8 races were retained. Numbers without parentheses are retained points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.


  1. ^ "1977 Japanese Grand Prix at StatsF1".
  2. ^ "Major incidents of fan deaths". Tampa Bay Times. 11 June 2005. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Hunt and Reutemann's podium no-show, Japan 1977". Six of the best - Unusual podium ceremonies. Formula 1.com. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Hunt wins but two die as Villeneuve crashes". ESPN. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  5. ^ Lawrence, Mike (1990). The Story of March. Osceola: Motorbooks International. p. 121. ISBN 0-946627-24-X.
  6. ^ "1977 Japanese Grand Prix". formula1.com. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  7. ^ Lynch, Steven (17 February 2012). "Ask Steven: A race of attrition". ESPN. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Japan 1977 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 18 March 2019.

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1977 Canadian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1977 season
Next race:
1978 Argentine Grand Prix
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1976 Japanese Grand Prix
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1987 Japanese Grand Prix