2002 Japanese Grand Prix

The 2002 Japanese Grand Prix (formally the 2002 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix)[4] was a Formula One motor race held at Suzuka on 13 October 2002. It was the seventeenth and final race of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship. It is also the last race held on this layout.

2002 Japanese Grand Prix
Race 17 of 17 in the 2002 Formula One World Championship
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Suzuka circuit map (1987-2002).svg
Race details
Date 13 October 2002
Official name 2002 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix
Location Suzuka Circuit
Suzuka, Mie, Japan
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.821[1][2] km (3.617 miles)
Distance 53 laps, 308.317[1][2] km (191.579 miles)
Weather Sunny, Air: 26 °C (79 °F), Track 30 °C (86 °F)
Attendance 326,000[3]
Pole position
Driver Ferrari
Time 1:31.317
Fastest lap
Driver Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari
Time 1:36.125 on lap 15
First Ferrari
Second Ferrari
Third McLaren-Mercedes
Lap leaders

The 53-lap race was won by Michael Schumacher, driving a Ferrari. Schumacher took pole position, led the whole race except during the pit stops, and set the fastest race lap. It was his eleventh win of the season and the fifteenth for the Ferrari team, thus equalling the record set by McLaren in 1988. Teammate Rubens Barrichello finished second, with Kimi Räikkönen third in a McLaren-Mercedes.

This was the last race for 1999 runner-up Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo, who had been in F1 since 1993 and 1994 respectively. It was also the last race for Alex Yoong and Allan McNish, though the latter could not participate in the race itself due to injuries suffered in a heavy crash during qualifying.


With both drivers and constructors title already decided, the fight in the championships concentrated on the lower ranks. In the Drivers' Championship, Juan Pablo Montoya was 3rd, 5 points ahead of teammate Ralf Schumacher. For Ralf to take 3rd, he needed to either win the race, provided that Montoya finished lower than second, or to finish second with Montoya out of the point-scoring positions. David Coulthard had a slim chance of winning 3rd place but that could only happen if he won 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 had a chance to improve their final ranking.

In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari, Williams and McLaren had secured 1st to 3rd. Renault had almost clinched 4th as Sauber would needed at least to win the race with their second car finishing in the points to take 4th. Four points separated four teams (Sauber on 11, Jaguar with 8 and both Honda runners BAR and Jordan with 7 points each) in a tough fight for positions, as the final ranking influenced how much a team received from the revenue of TV rights.

Ferrari were expected to dominate this race. If Michael Schumacher managed to win the race, he would improve his record number of wins with a perfect finishing record, as Schumacher had not retired from any race that year and had finished every race on the podium.[5] This was the first Formula 1 race for Toyota at their home country of Japan.

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.[6]


Michael Schumacher grabbed his 7th pole position of the season and the 50th of his career ahead of teammate 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 teammate 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.[7]

The fight for pole turned to be a no-contest with Michael Schumacher convincingly faster than anyone else here including his teammate. 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 teammate 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 teammates, 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.

Qualifying classificationEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Lap Gap
1 1   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:31.317
2 2   Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1:31.749 +0.432
3 3   David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.088 +0.771
4 4   Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.197 +0.880
5 5   Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1:32.444 +1.127
6 6   Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 1:32.507 +1.190
7 10   Takuma Sato Jordan-Honda 1:33.090 +1.773
8 9   Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Honda 1:33.276 +1.959
9 11   Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1:33.349 +2.032
10 15   Jenson Button Renault 1:33.429 +2.112
11 14   Jarno Trulli Renault 1:33.547 +2.230
12 7   Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas 1:33.553 +2.236
13 24   Mika Salo Toyota 1:33.742 +2.425
14 16   Eddie Irvine Jaguar-Cosworth 1:33.915 +2.598
15 8   Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas 1:33.979 +2.662
16 12   Olivier Panis BAR-Honda 1:34.192 +2.875
17 17   Pedro de la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth 1:34.227 +2.910
18 25   Allan McNish Toyota 1:35.191 +3.874
19 23   Mark Webber Minardi-Asiatech 1:35.958 +4.641
20 22   Alex Yoong Minardi-Asiatech 1:36.267 +4.950


Race classificationEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 53 1:26:59.698 1 10
2 2   Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 53 +0.506 2 6
3 4   Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 53 +23.292 4 4
4 6   Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 53 +36.275 6 3
5 10   Takuma Sato Jordan-Honda 53 +1:22.694 7 2
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 18  
11 5   Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 48 Engine 5  
Ret 17   Pedro de la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth 39 Transmission 17  
Ret 9   Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Honda 37 Engine 8  
Ret 14   Jarno Trulli Renault 32 Mechanical 11  
Ret 11   Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 27 Engine 9  
Ret 22   Alex Yoong Minardi-Asiatech 14 Spun off 19  
Ret 12   Olivier Panis BAR-Honda 8 Mechanical 16  
Ret 3   David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 7 Throttle 3  
Ret 8   Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas 3 Accident 15  
DNS 25   Allan McNish Toyota Injured in qualifying  
Sources:[2][8] [9]

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Bold text indicates the World Champions.
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ a b "Japanese Grand Prix – Round 17, October 13, 2002". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. Archived from the original on 3 March 2003. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "Grand Prix of Japan". FIA.com. Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Formula 1 Honda Japanese Grand Prix 2022 – Media Kit" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 5 October 2022. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  4. ^ "Japanese". Formula1.com. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Hall of Fame - Michael Schumacher". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 28 June 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  6. ^ "2002 Japanese GP - Race Preview". NewsOnF1. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  7. ^ McNish, Allan (13 October 2002). "McNish ruled out of Japanese GP". The Official Website of Allan McNish. Allan McNish. Archived from the original on January 30, 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  8. ^ "2002 Japanese Grand Prix". Formula1.com. Formula1.com Limited. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  9. ^ "2002 FIA Formula One World Championship Japanese Grand Prix". fiaresultsandstatistics.motorsportstats.com.
  10. ^ a b "Japan 2002 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 18 March 2019.

Previous race:
2002 United States Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2002 season
Next race:
2003 Australian Grand Prix
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2001 Japanese Grand Prix
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2003 Japanese Grand Prix

Coordinates: 34°50′35″N 136°32′26″E / 34.84306°N 136.54056°E / 34.84306; 136.54056