1976 Japanese Grand Prix

1976 Japanese Grand Prix

Grand Prix Race Report
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1976 Japanese Grand Prix

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The 1976 Japanese Grand Prix was a Formula One race held at Fuji on October 24, 1976.

The 1976 World Championship was to be decided at the Mount Fuji circuit, with Niki Lauda just three points ahead of James Hunt after a season full of incidents including Lauda's near-fatal crash at the Nürburgring and subsequent missed races.

The field was almost unchanged from the previous race, but Noritake Takahara rented the second Surtees replacing Brett Lunger and Hans Binder was back in the second Wolf Williams after Masami Kuwashima's money failed to materialize. Maki resurrected its Formula One car for Tony Trimmer while Heros Racing entered an old Tyrrell for Kazuyoshi Hoshino. Kojima Engineering entered a locally-built chassis for Masahiro Hasemi (on Dunlop tyres).

Mario Andretti took pole position in the Lotus 77 with Hunt on second place and Lauda third. Then came John Watson's Penske, Jody Scheckter, Carlos Pace, Clay Regazzoni and Vittorio Brambilla. The top 10 was completed by Ronnie Peterson and Hasemi. The Maki failed to qualify.

On race day the weather was very wet with fog and running water at several places on the track. There were intense debates as to whether the race should be started; in the end the organisers decided to go ahead and a majority of drivers did not disagree. Some drivers, including Niki Lauda, were not happy with the decision.

James Hunt took the lead from the start with John Watson and Mario Andretti behind. In the second lap Watson slid down an escape...
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