F1 Japanese Grand Prix – Past Winners

From Mario Andretti in 1976 to Max Verstappen in 2023, find out every F1 driver that has won the Japanese GP


The Japanese Grand Prix is a cornerstone event in the Formula 1 calendar, renowned for its high-speed challenges and strategic complexities. It has been the stage for numerous decisive championship moments, etching its place in the annals of motorsport history.

The Suzuka Circuit, the event’s traditional home, is celebrated for its unique figure-eight layout and demanding corners, testing the limits of both car and driver. This revered GP has witnessed the triumphs and heartbreaks of many of F1‘s legends, making it a fan-favourite and a driver’s benchmark for success.

Every F1 Japanese GP Winner

The F1 Japanese Grand Prix has seen a host of champions over its storied history. Below is a bullet-pointed list of victors, showcasing the diversity of talent and machinery that has triumphed in Japan:

  • 1976: Mario Andretti, Lotus-Ford – Andretti’s win marked the beginning of what would become one of F1’s most beloved races, showcasing his versatility and skill.
  • 1977: James Hunt, McLaren-Ford – In a season following his championship win, Hunt’s victory in Japan was a testament to his enduring speed and charisma.
  • 1987: Gerhard Berger, Ferrari – Berger’s win signified Ferrari’s resurgence, displaying a combination of speed and strategy.
  • 1988: Ayrton Senna, McLaren-Honda – This victory was a pivotal moment in Senna’s first championship year, highlighting his exceptional talent in adverse conditions.
  • 1989: Alessandro Nannini, Benetton-Ford – Nannini’s sole victory came through a dramatic race, underscoring the unpredictable nature of Formula 1.
  • 1990: Nelson Piquet, Benetton-Ford – Piquet’s experience and cunning were on full display, securing a win in the strategic battle of wits.
  • 1991: Gerhard Berger, McLaren-Honda – Berger’s win was a display of sheer determination and skill, adding to his tally in a challenging season.
  • 1992: Riccardo Patrese, Williams-Renault – Patrese’s victory underscored the technical superiority of the Williams car in a season dominated by the team.
  • 1993: Ayrton Senna, McLaren-Ford – Senna’s masterful performance in the rain was a testament to his legendary status, showcasing his unparalleled skill in wet conditions.
  • 1994: Damon Hill, Williams-Renault – Hill’s win was a crucial moment in his career, marking him as a contender in the sport.
  • 1995: Michael Schumacher, Benetton-Renault – Schumacher’s victory solidified his dominance in Formula 1, highlighting his exceptional talent and the prowess of the Benetton team.
  • 1996: Damon Hill, Williams-Renault – Clinching the championship with this victory, Hill’s triumph was a fulfillment of his lifelong ambition.
  • 1997: Michael Schumacher, Ferrari – Schumacher’s win was a part of Ferrari’s resurgence, demonstrating his critical role in reviving the team’s fortunes.
  • 1998: Mika Hakkinen, McLaren-Mercedes – Hakkinen’s victory underscored his battle with Schumacher, setting the stage for their legendary rivalry.
  • 1999: Mika Hakkinen, McLaren-Mercedes – Securing the championship, Hakkinen’s win was a testament to his speed and consistency under pressure.
  • 2000: Michael Schumacher, Ferrari – Schumacher’s victory clinched his first championship with Ferrari, marking a new era of dominance for the team.
  • 2001: Michael Schumacher, Ferrari – Another dominant performance by Schumacher, further cementing his legacy as one of the sport’s greatest.
  • 2002: Michael Schumacher, Ferrari – Schumacher’s win was part of a record-breaking season, showcasing the Ferrari team’s unparalleled success.
  • 2003: Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari – Barrichello’s win demonstrated his crucial role as a team player in Ferrari’s championship-winning campaign.
  • 2004: Michael Schumacher, Ferrari – Schumacher’s final victory in Japan, capping off a season of unmatched dominance.
  • 2005: Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren-Mercedes – Starting from the back, Raikkonen’s thrilling drive to victory is heralded as one of the finest in F1 history, highlighting his raw speed and overtaking prowess.
  • 2006: Fernando Alonso, Renault – Alonso’s win solidified his championship campaign, showcasing his ability to deliver under pressure.
  • 2007: Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes – In his rookie season, Hamilton’s win demonstrated not just his extraordinary talent but also his championship contention from the outset.
  • 2008: Fernando Alonso, Renault – Alonso’s second consecutive victory in Japan, during a challenging season, showcased his adaptability and strategic acumen.
  • 2009: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – Vettel’s win marked the rise of Red Bull as a championship-contending team, emphasizing his and the team’s growing dominance.
  • 2010: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – Another commanding victory by Vettel, contributing significantly to his first World Championship title.
  • 2011: Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes – Button’s masterful control and strategy underlined this victory, emphasizing his smooth driving style and tactical intelligence.
  • 2012: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – Vettel’s win, amid the title fight, showcased his relentless pursuit of victory and his third consecutive championship.
  • 2013: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – Dominating the race, Vettel’s win was a crucial step towards sealing his fourth straight World Championship, highlighting his era of dominance in F1.
  • 2014: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – Hamilton’s victory was a key moment in his battle with teammate Nico Rosberg for the championship, showcasing his competitive edge and determination.
  • 2015: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – Hamilton’s victory continued Mercedes’ dominance, underscoring his own era-defining talent.
  • 2016: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes – In a season that would ultimately see him crowned World Champion, Rosberg’s win in Japan was pivotal, demonstrating his precision and mental fortitude.
  • 2017: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – Hamilton’s win further extended his lead in the championship, underlining his mastery of the Suzuka circuit and his relentless pursuit of excellence.
  • 2018: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – Another dominant performance by Hamilton at Suzuka, moving him closer to his fifth World Championship and reinforcing Mercedes’ stronghold in the turbo-hybrid era.
  • 2019: Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes – Bottas’ commanding win contributed to Mercedes securing the Constructors’ Championship, showcasing his crucial role within the team.
  • 2020: Not held due to global pandemic – The year the world stood still saw the Japanese GP cancelled, a poignant reminder of the challenges faced globally.
  • 2021: Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing – Verstappen’s triumph was a significant moment, breaking Mercedes’ winning streak and asserting his claim for the championship in a highly competitive season.
  • 2022: Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing – Continuing his ascendancy, Verstappen clinched another victory, highlighting Red Bull’s strategic brilliance and his own exceptional driving skill.
  • 2023: Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing – Starting from pole and setting the fastest lap, Verstappen’s dominant victory at Suzuka was a masterclass in precision driving and strategic execution.

Most Successful F1 Drivers in Japan

The F1 Japanese Grand Prix has been a defining battleground for drivers, with a few etching their names as the most successful in its history. Their triumphs in Japan have not only showcased their exceptional skill but also their ability to excel under pressure on one of Formula 1’s most challenging circuits.

  • Michael Schumacher: With 6 victories (1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004), Schumacher’s dominance at Suzuka is a testament to his legendary status in F1. His strategic brilliance and unparalleled driving skill have made him the most successful driver in the history of the Japanese Grand Prix.
  • Lewis Hamilton: Hamilton’s 5 wins (2007, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) highlight his era-defining talent and adaptability. Each victory at Suzuka underscores his mastery of the track and his significant contribution to Mercedes’ dominance in the sport.
  • Sebastian Vettel: With 4 victories (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), Vettel’s success in Japan was crucial to his four consecutive World Championships with Red Bull Racing. His performances at Suzuka demonstrated his exceptional skill and the tactical acumen of Red Bull during their championship-winning years.

These drivers have not only triumphed in Japan but have also left an indelible mark on the sport, their victories a reflection of their prowess, consistency, and the ability to rise to the occasion on one of Formula 1’s grandest stages.

Lewis Hamilton ahead of the 2018 Japanese GP | Mercedes F1 Team / Steve Etherington
Lewis Hamilton ahead of the 2018 Japanese GP | Mercedes F1 Team / Steve Etherington

Most Successful Teams at the Japanese GP

The F1 Japanese Grand Prix has been a pivotal race for teams throughout the history of Formula 1, with certain teams achieving remarkable success at this iconic venue. The combination of technological innovation, strategic mastery, and driver excellence has propelled these teams to the forefront of the sport in Japan.

  • Ferrari: With a total of 7 victories (1977, 1987, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004), Ferrari stands as one of the most successful teams in the history of the Japanese Grand Prix. Their success spans several decades, highlighting Ferrari’s enduring presence and competitive spirit in Formula 1.
  • McLaren: McLaren also boasts 7 wins (1976, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2005) at the Japanese GP, reflecting the team’s rich heritage and their ability to excel on one of the most demanding circuits on the F1 calendar. Each victory at Suzuka has contributed to McLaren’s storied legacy in the sport.
  • Mercedes: With 6 victories (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) in the turbo-hybrid era, Mercedes has demonstrated its technological superiority and strategic dominance at the Japanese GP. Their recent success underscores the team’s excellence in innovation and their ability to adapt to the evolving challenges of Formula 1.
  • Red Bull Racing: Emerging as a dominant force, Red Bull Racing has secured 5 victories (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2021) in Japan, with their success being pivotal to their championship campaigns. Red Bull’s achievements at Suzuka highlight their competitive edge and commitment to excellence in the modern era of the sport.

These teams have not only emerged victorious in Japan but have also left a significant impact on the championship standings, demonstrating the Japanese GP’s importance as a crucial juncture in the Formula 1 season.

Their achievements reflect a blend of technical prowess, strategic depth, and driving talent, cementing their status as some of the most successful teams in the history of the Japanese Grand Prix.

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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