x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Toyota's Fuji circuit pulls out of F1

Toyota Motor Corp subsidiary Fuji International Speedway has given up the hosting rights for the Japanese Grand Prix in 2010, citing cost-cutting needs.

The Fuji International Speedway circuit welcomed back Formula one racing after a gap of 30 years in 2007.
The Fuji International Speedway circuit welcomed back Formula one racing after a gap of 30 years in 2007.

The future of the Japanese Grand Prix has been put in jeopardy after it was confirmed that the Fuji International Speedway circuit has pulled out of hosting next year's event and future Formula One races. Cost cutting as a consequence of the world credit crisis has been blamed for the decision made by the Japanese firm Toyota, who own the circuit. The track had hosted the Japanese round of the Formula One World Championship in 2007 and 2008, and had been in an agreement with the Suzuka circuit to alternate the race between the two venues, with Suzuka hosting this year's race in October. But that arrangement has now been thrown out after Toyota chose to pull out of running the race, which is is estimated they were paying upto $30 million (Dh110.1m) a year for. Toyota has suspended several projects in an effort to save money after it announced its first operating loss. The loss is estimated to increase up to a record $8.92bn by March 2010. "We decided it would be extremely difficult to continue holding the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix in view of sharply deteriorating business conditions and few signs of a rapid economic recovery,'' a spokesperson for Fuji International Speedway said in a statement. Circuit president Hiroaki Kato added: "After only announcing barely three years ago, in March 2006, that Fuji Speedway would hold the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix, it is heart-wrenching we were unable to avoid the decision to abandon our plans to hold the race from 2010." The track will now devote itself to other motorsports such as Formula Nippon and Japanese Super GT. Fuji is not the only circuit to be struggling financially. The Hockenheim track, which shares the German Grand Prix with the Nurburgring, recently had a bid for funding from the German government rejected as the circuit struggles to break even financially from hosting a Formula One race. They are due to host the 2010 German Grand Prix. sports@thenational.ae