2016 Japanese Super Formula finale - twelve drivers can win the championship
JAF Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, scheduled for this weekend (October 29-30), will be the last round of the 2016 Japanese Super Formula Championship. The premium Japanese single-seater competition, which was inaugurated in 1973 as Formula Nippon, will have its climax at the famous Grand Prix circuit in the double-header event with two races on Sunday.
In comparison to normal championship rounds with one race, the season’s finale at Suzuka offers more points to the title contenders and other drivers. The maximum from two races (plus bonus for poles) is 18 points, twelve drivers (!) have mathematical and theoretical chances to reach the 2016 title and to dethrone last year’s champion Hiroaki Ishiura. Or maybe Ishiura will take another title, his second in a career.
Hiroaki Ishiura (P.mu/cerumo INGING) is currently the fifth-placed driver in the championship standings. The leader is Yuhi Sekiguchi (Team Impul), who scored two wins (Motegi and Sugo) and one podium in seven races and collected 28 points. The closest rival is Yuji Kunimoto (P.mu/cerumo INGING) with 23.5 points.
Andre Lotterer and Kazuki Nakajima are the rivals in the World Endurance Championship but also the teammates in the Team TOM’s and the closest opponents in the Super Formula. Lotterer is third, with 22 points, Nakajima follows him in the fourth place with two points less. Fifth-placed Ishiura has the same amount of points (19) as the rookie from Belgium and McLaren’s driver Stoffel Vandoorne (Docomo Team Dandelion). Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen) is seventh in the classification, with 15.5 points on his account. He already has one victory from the season-opener at Suzuka, so his chances aren’t small.
Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira is in the 8th place with 12.5 points while Daisuke Nakajima is in the 12th place, with 10.5 points. Between them, there are Tomoki Nojiri, James Rossiter and Koudai Tsukakoshi.
Daisuke Nakajima mathematically can also take the title (he is in the 12th place), if he takes both poles and wins both races and if most of his rivals finish the race without any points. Of course, we all know that it is quite impossible and that the 2016 champion will probably be some of the Top 6 drivers.
The last round of the season will feature two Championship Races. The Qualifying will be a knock-out format, and the grid positions for Race 1 will be based on the results from Q1. The top of the grid for Race 2 will be based on the results from Q3.
Capturing pole position will bring 1 point for each race. Race 1, that will be held in the morning on Sunday, is a sprint race without a mandatory tire change. Race 2 however, that will be held in the afternoon, will have a mandatory tire change. The race winners are getting eight points, with other positions from P2 to P8 awarded with 4, 3, 2.5, 2, 1.5, 1 and 0.5 points.