Honda F1 website

MARCH 24, 2006

Japanese GP heads for Fuji

As we reported a week ago, the Japanese Grand Prix is moving to Mount Fuji in 2007. The news is a coup for Toyota, as the race has been lured away from rival Honda, which owns the Suzuka circuit. No doubt this was down to financial clout more than anything and it is likley that Formula One Management will benefit greatly from the new deal. Fuji has some advantages over Suzuka given that it is closer to Tokyo but at the same time it is further away from the country's second city Osaka. The major problem in the Fuji area is the lack of hotels to house the F1 circus and the fans. The circuit also has a long history of creating bad traffic jams but changes to the local road system in the years ahead may help this situation. The plans for a second motorway from Tokyo passing close to the circuit have been on hold for some years.

The big question now is whether Suzuka will respond by bidding for a Grand Prix of its own. This could be badged as either the Pacific Grand Prix or the Asian Grand Prix and is largely dependent on finance and, no doubt, Suzuka will now have to address the problem of the pit and paddick area which it has been carefully avoiding for years. The loss of the race will be a major financial blow to the local Mie Prefecture which gains a great deal of money from the thousands of race fans who stay in the cities of Suzuka, Tsu and Yokkaichi. the economic impact of the race will extend to Nagoya as this also housed large numbers of race fans.