TOKYO // Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway plans to host the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix, despite doubts over the Japanese car maker's future in Formula One. "We are making plans to host the race next year," a Toyota spokeswoman said today. Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported that Toyota was reviewing its plans to host the 2010 race as the global economic crisis continues to effect the auto industry.
The Asahi report said many officials at Toyota are voicing reservations about the huge cost of staging the race. The Toyota team had also said it future in the sport was contingent upon the outcome of an ongoing wrangle between organisers and teams over the rules for the 2010 championship. The Toyota-owned track hosted the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007 for the first time in 30 years and again the following year, replacing the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit. The 2009 Japanese Grand Prix will be held at Suzuka, near the city of Nagoya. The race is expected to alternate between Suzuka and Fuji Speedway from this year. Toyota has said it expects the current fiscal year through March 2010 to be their worst ever financially, forecasting a net loss of $5.7 billion (Dh29.3bn).
Meanwhile, France will do everything it can to stage a Formula One race next year or in 2011 after dropping off this season's calendar, prime minister Francois Fillon said. French Grand Prix organisers announced last October that they had cancelled the race at Magny-Cours for financial reasons. "The government will do everything so that there can be a Grand Prix in France as soon as possible, that is to say from 2010 (or) 2011," Fillon, a fan of motor racing, told Europe 1 radio. "We are in the process of looking at which circuit (would be used), if we need to build a new one ... this is probable ... it would undoubtedly take some time," he said. Magny-Cours, in the heart of rural France, was disliked by teams and sponsors because of its poor accommodation facilities and difficult access. Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said he would rather have a track near Paris. Asked if the existing circuit could be used again before another location was created, Fillon said: "I think this will be necessary because the time it would take to build a circuit would take us up until 2012 and I don't think we can accept that there isn't a Grand Prix in France before (then)." * With agencies