NOVEMBER 23, 2005

Toyota beats Honda to Japanese GP?

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper in Japan is reporting that Toyota has won the deal to host the Japanese Grand Prix at Mount Fuji in 2007. The race is currently held at Honda's track at Suzuka. Toyota bought Fuji in 2000 and has since invested $168m to bring the track up to Formula 1 specifications. The track has been inspected and passed by FIA officials. Fuji hosted two Grands Prix in the 1970s but it was then 10 years before Formula 1 returned to Japan at Suzuka, where the race has been held every year since. Suzuka's contract with Formula One Management is understood to expire after the 2006 event and much effort was being made by Suzuka and the local government to keep the race but it seems that Toyota has outbid Honda for the event, despite fears that Fuji might not have sufficient hotel capacity. Toyota, it appears, has undertaken to sort out this problem in the time available and construction of new hotels is expected shortly in the towns of Gotemba and Hakone. Access to the track is also expected to be improved.