OCTOBER 12, 2004
Toyota warns of race costs
Toyota motorsport boss Tsutomu Tomita took the opportunity at Suzuka to gently warn Benie Ecclestone that the fees he is trying to charge race promoters are too high. Toyota is currently redeveloping the Fuji International Speedway and will be challenging Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007.
Tomita was asked about Silverstone and said that "of course, we don't like to lose such a traditional Grand Prix event" and then added that "sorry to Bernie, but 10% increase every year is a little bit too big."
Toyota's Hisamitsu Shimada, the Mt Fuji project leader, was at Suzuka and says that the work at Fuji will be finished in April 2005 and that the company will then begin to bid for the Grand Prix in 2007 as Suzuka's deal with Formula One Management ends after the 2006 race. As Honda is supporting Suzuka and Toyota supporting Fuji there is the possibility of an impressive auction for the event, although Bernie Ecclestone may conclude that he will get more money if he agrees to host two Grands Prix in Japan: reviving the old idea of the Pacific Grand Prix. This of course will increae the pressure on the old races in Europe.
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