The Honda-owned Suzuka circuit will continue to host the Japanese Grand Prix it has been announced, the decision to continue at the track for another two years being reached today between Suzuka officials and Bernie Ecclestone. The race had recently been alternating between Suzuka and Fuji International Speedway, a decision that caused widespread dismay among fans as the traditional host is considered by many to be a better venue. However, the economic downturn has put pressure on Fuji and the circuit confirmed earlier in the year that it would not host another Formula One Grand Prix in the coming years.
We are delighted that the Suzuka Circuit will now safeguard one of our most important national sporting events by playing host to the Japanese Grand Prix for the next three years. Hiroshi Oshima.
Suzuka will host the 2009 Japanese Grand Prix as planned in early-October, and then continue to do so in 2010 and 2011. The figure-of-eight track has created some great racing moments over the years, the circuit having hosted the first Japanese Grand Prix in the sport’s history, back in 1963. Although the event was not part of the official championship, it was Formula One cars that were thundering around the corners.
The event was finally integrated into the championship in 1976, but it was Fuji that got the nod. After a couple of years, the race disappeared from the calendar for a decade, but returned in 1986, this time at Suzuka. The Japanese Grand Prix remained at Suzuka and usually placed at or near the end of the year. In 2006 a deal was struck with Fuji for the speedway to take over the reigns of the event and Suzuka received some investment and updates in it facilities. Desperate to return to the calendar, another deal was struck whereby the venues would alternate the grand prix, but in July 2009, Fuji announced it had to relinquish the race in order to survive.
More information on Suzuka and the Japanese Grand Prix can be found on BlogF1’s (developing) sister site, Google Circuits.