1976 Japanese Grand Prix
- Sunday, October 24, 1976
- Japanese Grand Prix
- F1 World Championship
The Formula One World Championship is nothing if not truly International and the latest country to climb onto the Grand Prix bandwagon is Japan who hosted the final round of this season’s 16-race series at the 4.3-km. Fuji International Speedway, situated in the shadow of the impressive (but happily dormant) Fuji volcano.
The circuit was built just over ten years ago and its full 6-km. length includes a section of steep banking at the end of the long start/finish straight. However, the banking has not been used for racing since a fatal multi-car pile-up during a 2-litre sports-car race in 1974 so the Formula One event took place on the shortened 4.3-km. course which really consists of the long straight connected by a couple of tight corners and one extremely fast long right-hander, through which the fastest Grand Prix cars got into 5th gear before catapulting out onto the straight again. Enthusiasm ran high amongst the local organisers who went out of their way to be hospitable and, although there was some concern over the durability of the lightly resurfaced circuit, everything ran very smoothly during the two official practice days.
Practice was preceded by an argument between the Ferrari and McLaren teams over the fact that Hunt had done some slow laps in the wet the previous Saturday after everyone had agreed not to be beastly and go testing prior to the race. Ferrari team manager Audetto became almost apoplectic about the whole affair, brandishing accusations round that it was “unsporting” and “unforgiveable” for McLaren to carry on like that, while Niki Lauda just sat and looked in the other direction hoping that his team manager would stop “banging on” in such a fashion. Fortunately it was soon Friday morning and somebody fired up one of the Ferrari flat-12s which drowned all the bickering between the two teams!
Oyama, Shizuoka Prefecture
Permanent road course
Jody Scheckter (Wolf WR3-Ford), 1m14.3, 131.258 mph, F1, 1977
First Race1974 Fuji Japanese F2000