Fuji gives up F1 race
7 July 2009 – Fuji Speedway has announced that it is to throw in the towel on its Formula One race after hosting the last two Japanese Grands Prix. Organisers of the race at the legendary venue state that financial reasons forced the decision which means the event will return full-time to Suzuka.
Fuji Speedway in its modern form first hosted the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007 before starting an alternating scheme with Suzuka from last year onwards, which sees the latter take its turn this year. However, Suzuka is now likely to continue hosting the event after officials at the Mount Fuji venue elected that the Toyota-owned circuit would no longer be part of the F1 calendar.
'In view of the sharply deteriorating business conditions and few signs of a rapid economic recovery, we decided it would be extremely difficult to continue holding the F1 Japanese Grand Prix,' reads an official statement.
Scene of dramatic wins for Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in the past two seasons, the track first staged a race in 1976 and saw James Hunt lift the F1 crown for Great Britain before going on to win the Grand Prix in Japan the following year. "After only having announced barely three years ago, in March 2006, that Fuji Speedway would hold the F1 Japanese Grand Prix, it is heart-wrenching that we were not able to avoid the decision to abandon our plans to hold the race from 2010," commented Hiroaki Kato, president of the venue.
"To the people who attended the event at Fuji Speedway last year and the year before, to those who were looking forward to the event there in the future and to all those locally and elsewhere who granted us their immense understanding and encouragement, I deeply apologise for a result not commensurate with your expectations. At the same time, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for your kind support - Fuji Speedway intends to devote itself with even greater intensity to promote motorsports. For this, we humbly seek your continued understanding."