Harman Patil (Editor)

1996 Japanese Grand Prix

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Date  13 October 1996
Course length  5.864 km (3.608 mi)
1996 Japanese Grand Prix
Official name  XXII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix
Location  Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, Japan
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  52 laps, 304.928 km (189.473 mi)

The 1996 Japanese Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 13 October 1996 at Suzuka. It was the 16th and final race of the 1996 Formula One season.


Williams' Damon Hill took his eighth win of the season, and with it the Drivers' Championship, after team-mate and pole-sitter Jacques Villeneuve made a poor start and then retired when a wheel fell off. Villeneuve had needed to win the race, without Hill scoring, in order to win the Championship himself. Michael Schumacher finished second, enabling Ferrari to steal second place in the Constructors' Championship from Benetton, while McLaren's Mika Häkkinen was third. This was also the last race for Giovanni Lavaggi, Pedro Lamy and Martin Brundle.


This was the first time since 1977 that Japan hosted the final round of the World Championship, a distinction which had been held by the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide for the previous 11 seasons.

In qualifying, Villeneuve beat Hill to pole position by nearly half a second, with a further 0.7 seconds back to Schumacher in third. On race day, the first start was aborted when David Coulthard stalled his McLaren. At the second start, Villeneuve made a poor getaway and fell to sixth behind Hill, Gerhard Berger, Häkkinen, Schumacher and Eddie Irvine. Meanwhile, Jean Alesi, attempting to make up several places after qualifying ninth, spun off at the second corner and destroyed his Benetton. On the third lap, Berger attempted to overtake Hill at the final chicane, only to damage his front wing. Thereafter, Hill gradually pulled away, with Schumacher overtaking Häkkinen for second during the first round of pit stops. Villeneuve passed Irvine, set the fastest lap of the race and ran fourth before his right rear wheel came off on lap 37, putting him out of the race and handing the Drivers' Championship to Hill, already dropped by Williams for the following season. Schumacher finished 1.8 seconds behind Hill with Häkkinen a further 1.4 seconds back, while Berger recovered to finish fourth, Martin Brundle came fifth in his final Grand Prix, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen picked up the final point for sixth.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • References

    1996 Japanese Grand Prix Wikipedia

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