The 1994 Japanese Grand Prix was the 15th and penultimate round of the 1994 Formula One Season. Run in wet conditions, with conditions torrential to start but improving gradually, it took place at the Suzuka Circuit on November 6th 1994. Due to the weather and resulting accidents, the race was stopped twice: firstly after 14 laps, due to Gianni Morbidelli and Martin Brundle having unrelated accidents, then after 50 laps according to the two-hour time-limit rule. The result was decided, for the last time in Formula One, by an aggregate timing system.
The race was won by Damon Hill of Williams-Renault, who finished nine seconds ahead of Michael Schumacher on the road (3 and a half seconds on aggregate). Ferrari driver, Jean Alesi finished third. The result reduced Hill's deficit in the Drivers' World Championship to just one point behind Schumacher, with just one race to go. Hill's victory, combined with a fourth place finish for team-mate Nigel Mansell gave Williams-Renault a five point lead in the Constructors' Championship over Benetton-Ford.
Three drivers made their début in Japan: Frenchman Franck Lagorce, Japanese Taki Inoue and Finnish Mika Salo. Inoue lasted 3 laps and Lagorce 10 laps, before falling victim to the conditions. Salo performed solidly to cross the line in an overall tenth on his début.
The Suzuka Circuit was unchanged for the 1994 event, and was hosting the Japanese Grand Prix for the eighth consecutive year; the tenth Japanese Grand Prix in total as a round of the Formula One World Championship.
Since the previous round in Jerez, experienced driver, Andrea de Cesaris announced his immediate retirement from F1 after 214 races without a win. He would be replaced by JJ Lehto who had been unseated at Benetton by Johnny Herbert. Also leaving the sport ahead of this event was Frenchman, Éric Bernard, who was replaced by débutant, Mika Salo. Two other teams turned to new blood for the Japanese Grand Prix: Ligier promoted reserve driver, Franck Lagorce, to a race seat to replace Herbert, who had moved to Benetton, and Simtek hired their 6th driver of a tragic season, Taki Inoue, to their driver line-up.
Going into the event, Michael Schumacher held a five point lead over Damon Hill. Schumacher could win the World Championship by outscoring the Williams driver by five points or more. Schumacher's team, Benetton-Ford, held a slender one two point advantage over Williams-Renault: only a one-two finish could potentially secure the title in Japan, depending on other results.
The full entry list is outlined below for the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix:
Standings after raceEdit
- ↑ Two part race on aggregate time, stopped 3 laps early due to time limit
|Japanese Grand Prix|
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