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Japanese Grand Prix Page

Well, the 2002 season is over and finished in an expected fashion with Ferrari dominating the race with neither McLaren nor Williams able to challenge. 

A few of the highlights:

  • Michael Schumacher achieving an amazing record of finishing all 17 races this season on the podium.

  • McLaren overtaking Williams in both qualifying and the race. Both teams however still suffered from reliability problems

  • Takuma Sato scoring his first points of his career at home ... and perhaps saved his Formula 1 career.

  • Felipe Massa crashing out. He is fast but continues to prove his recklessness, will he be back in Formula 1 next season ?

  • Allan McNish's crash in qualifying. His car ripped through the armco yet he walked away. Sure the cars are safer but had he hit the barriers head on, it would have been much worse. Should the cars be slowed down ? 

  • Despite Sato's impressive finish, Honda would rather forget about this season. How many blown engines did they suffer this season ?

Your thoughts ? Of course you can comment on other aspects of the race - Have Your Say (What others are saying)

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What others are saying:  

Rewarding 10 drivers seems a bit extreme in my opinion. Especially if the grid is going to remain at 20 and not 22 or 24 cars. I think points to the top 8 is more valid, perhaps using a 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 formula. 
I don't see the need for a point for pole position or fastest lap of the race, I don't think that they will necessarily enhance the spectacle. So many good drives for 7th position by drivers in inferior machinery go unrewarded at present - Damian S - Australia.

Hi all, The season has ended and the talk of a Williams/BMW threat was just that, talk. The whole season Magazines have drummed up unfounded fear and hype about the superior BMW Engine. It has never shown to be true! Yes, in qualifying they have shown good times but this was more the driver than the car. 
Ferrari has the best chassis and is not down on power at all. If anything they have the more powerful engine (Straight Line Speed Traps Shown This : I don't think there is a big difference in Coef. of Drag between the top cars) and Ferrari are just playing coy about it and just keep on winning! I think they have the most power (and usable torque) then anyone is letting on. >>>>Horsepower = Greater Wing = Handling<<<<. Simple Physics! All of the other teams had better be afraid, very afraid. The Red Cars form Maranello shall once more win in 2003' and reign supreme! These are the cold hard facts! 
In all sports there is alway one team that dominates at one time or another. This is all part of sport and the gathering of talent in a team with a special chemistry. Porsche of the 70', 80' and early 90's enjoyed unheard of Le Manns domination, in CART Roger Penske dominated in the 70' and 80', in Formula 1 both McLaren and Williams have both had long win streaks, and so on and so on. I think it comes down to the competition is just lacking right now. The margin has become too wide. The fact is that Ferrari has just done a better job! You want to make the Championship closer?............ Give more teams and drivers points and reduce the gap of points give. Example Top 10 teams awarded points 10pts. 9pts., 8pts., 7pts., 6pts., 5pts. 4pts. 3pts. 2pts., 1pts. Points = Money. The more that teams get points, the more money is spread out and more teams are able to stay in business and do a better job. Reduce wing sizes, Raise the ride height, Restrictor plates, ban all barge boards, reduce tire width, standard tub shape built by someone like Dallara. Look at IRL in the U.S. Very Good Racing at all races. So many possibilities can be used.
I have given the future of F-1 more thought. As an engineer, these are my suggested areas of change:

  • Standarize the the chassis with wider more spacious main tubs (Built by someone like Dallara) and standard, fixed engine attachment points (leave suspension as free area). 
  • No barge boards. 
  • Standard simple wing shapes and sizes (no turning vanes). 
  • Narrower tires. 
  • Much broader scoring system (10 points to 1pt. for 1st to 10th) with more teams making money and more drivers in the running for title. 
  • Two engines per weekend per car(1 qualifying & 1 race engine). 
  • Raise ride height of chassis. 
  • Standard restrictor plates on engines. 

The rumors of the weight penalties, of driver penalties, etc. for a team / driver that is doing well; will kill the sport. The idea is the even playing field. Good Bye All, speak to you soon. Frank - USA

I agree with Johan M. 
I strongly support the idea of rewarding each driver that is able to finish (except perhaps the last) after more than 300 km of hard driving even risking his life, proving ability and car reliability. Perhaps the winner should pick two points (you can't say if he is at his capacity limit) - but not more - than the second, and then one less per finishing position. But I'm convinced that the driver championship and the brand championship should run separately; this is the only way of truly comparing drivers and brands. 
I think the regulations must be harder in order to avoid drivers like Yoong, or teams like Minardi (they can take part in lower categories). - Anonymous

Sorry Rob, but I can't agree with you. When records go tumbling the way they did, it can never be dull. Pity they all came from the same person/team but that is the reward for excellence. But thats my view. 
There has been a lot of hype to change things to make it more interesting. Most (if not all) of what I've heard/read is quite insane. I think if they want to make it more interesting they should change the points scoring method. Award 10 points for a win, 9 for second and so on. Further award 3 points for pole, 2 for second etc. Also they can award 1 point for fastest lap. Prior to the Japanese GP I set up a schedule of race results and scored as above. Interesting to note that going into the Japanese GP, second place on the log would still have been up for grabs. There are also some changes lower down the order where drivers moved up and down. First place would have been secured after the French GP but not long after. When somebody finishes on the podium in every race there is nothing or nobody thats going to catch him. But that is very rare. Looks like the average DNF's for the top six drivers were 4. With this point scoring method, had Michael DNF 4 times that would really have set the cat among the pigeons. And lets face it, he is not going to repeat this year's reliability again - never in a month of sundays. With this scoring things are going to be very tight right up to the end. And thats what we want isn't it? Granted, there are a few niggles that I don't like but it's a whole lot better than seeing Alex Yoong in a Ferrari!! (Oh yes and it's a lot cheaper an safer to implement and a lot less technical as well)- Johan M - South Africa

What a dull season!! 
What will Arrows be called next year? - Rob - Australia

I must agree with Jeff, the true F1 fans will continue to watch "the show" no matter who is dominating or by how much. when did "the show" suddenly become the important issue? I have been a F1 fan since the early 70,s and it was always about the racing and the technology, not the show! if the other teams were to concentrate on developing their technology to a point where they could challenge for the lead, the show would automatically improve. Maybe Max and Bernie should help the struggling teams to improve rather than attempting to penalise those who are already doing well. 
As for Sato, an instant hero in Japan, much like Mark Webber in Australia, sure a good drive, but an inherited position not an earned one. 
Well another season gone, lets see who can do what next season........time to hibernate till then. Peter - USA

Finally.... the season is over. Just hope for everyone's sake that McLaren and Williams (and who knows... Renault also) can seriously challenge Ferrari next year. I do not think the business of F1 can endure another year like this one without major negative financial impacts and neither can I as a spectator. Lets not forget how much F1 brings in term of technology to everyday cars and how F1 racing is unique as it truly is a race between constructors. But too much technologie kind of kills the fun of the show when there is a clear domination and takes away the merits of the drivers when too much technology is involved. 
Should be put robots on qualifying sessions or even during the race rather than humans..... it might be just a matter of time. Many years ago, technology was not advanced enough to bring up this question, but now...... can't wait to see what an F1 race will look like in 20 years - Marc - Quebec

Sato proved that he has the talent that Eddie Jordan has been talking about all season it is just a pity that he left it so late to show it. It may be a case of too little too late to save his career but he has certainly boosted his popularity in Japan. He gave Jordan the 2 points that they needed to secure 6th place in the Championship which I am really glad about. 
I am a huge Jordan fan so this season has been very disappointing so to end it with a good finish was at least some consolation. 
I think the amount of engine failures Honda had this season was ridiculous they couldn't even get more then one engine to last the race on the track that they own themselves. I am really glad that Jordan are not going to have Honda engines next season hopefully the Ford engines will bring them a bit more success - Ciara - Ireland

Because Speed channel had to carry the feed from Fuji TV I only got to see Sato race, so my view of the Suzuka race race is a little skewed. Although that was probably the best Sato has driven all season. From what little I was able to glean from the coverage, I was probably also watching the best battle going on in the race. From that point of view it was a good race. 
I'm sure the Honda engineers were sweating blood, given how many engines they lost this weekend and all season. 
With Ferrari so dominant this season, it's going to be a L-O-N-G winter. Can the rest of the teams get up to Ferrari's level? Can Ferrari do it again next season? Will all this B.S. about handicapping the leaders amount to anything? On that subject I would like to put my 2 cents in. All the teams play by the same rules. There has been no indication that Ferrari broke or even bent any of those rules. It is up the other teams to get their game up to the level of the fastest competitor, no matter who it is. If Ferrari was able to be this dominant all season, maybe it's time for everybody else to take a long, hard look at how they do business. Granted, Ferrari is not going to give anybody any help, nor should they be expected to. They found a way within the FIA framework to go fast and be reliable, so anybody should be able to do the same thing. I am sorry to say that some fans will stop watching but that is not the winning team's fault. For me, I will continue to get up at 4:30 A.M. on Sunday mornings to watch the race live, regardless of who is dominating the season. 
In short, most of the proposals I have seen for "levelling the playing field" are unfair and unworkable - Jeff S - USA

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