Suzuka hosted it’s first ever Formula 1 GP in 1987, nearly 10 years after the previous edition of the Japanese round, held at Fuji Speedway which was mired with controversy.
Ferrari won the inaugural round of the Japanese GP at Suzuka, piloted by Austrian racer Gerhard Berger. But a further decade passed before the prancing horse saw the top step of the podium again, this time courtesy of Michael Schumacher. Michael won the race in 1997 which also promoted him to the top of the championship table. But the final round, the European Grand Prix, taking place at Jerez turned out to be disastrous for Ferrari, as Schumacher lost the championship in one corner. Schumacher was being challenged by Villeneuve for the lead and had almost got the lead just as they entered the corner, when Schumacher tried to turn into Villeneuve, which ended up in Schumacher being beached in the gravel trap. The following two seasons didn’t bring any cheer for Ferrari at Suzuka either. But the Suzuka bad luck run ended in 2000, as Schumacher won there for the third time, and also managed to win the world championship, his first of the five he would go on to win for Ferrari. Michael also went on to win in 2001, 2002 and 2004. But in 2003 weather conditions during qualifying forced Schumacher to start 14th, but he went on to finish in 8th position despite an unscheduled front wing change, but that was enough to win the championship as his nearest rival Raikkonen failed to win the race.
A relatively uneventful Suzuka came and went in 2005, but in 2006, Schumacher came back to Suzuka with a chance to win the world championship, it looked like Shcumacher would be able fightback and win the title but the engine on schumacher’s car failed and ended all hopes of a farewell world title.
Ferrari’s Suzuka bad Luck doesn’t seem to have ended even with new drivers, as shown last season when Fernando Alonso’s ferrari survived for just 370 meters of the entire Grand Prix after a collision with his future team-mate, Kimi.
All in all, Ferrari has won here seven times, with nine pole positions and on five occasions, one of its drivers has set the fastest race lap. There are a total of 21 podium places. But this year’s GP does not look promising as they lack in pace, which was very evident in the Korean Grand Prix. But you can never discount Alonso from pulling a surprise. And could massa, who finished on the podium here last year, repeat it this season too?