Fuji Speedway to disappear from 2010 F1 calendar, things are looking up

Felipe Massa rounds another of Fuji's slow corners
Felipe Massa rounds another of Fuji's slow corners

Fuji Speedway, which is owned by Toyota, may not return to the F1 calendar in 2010 as planned.

The track is supposed to be rotating the Japanese Grand Prix with Honda-owned Suzuka, which holds this year?s race. But the circuit operators have suggested the 2010 running is in doubt, potentially returning the Japanese round to Suzuka full-time.

I?ve never warmed to Fuji and won?t be sorry to see the back of it.

Suzuka has some of the best corners in the F1 calendar: 130R, Degner, Spoon and the Esses after the first bend.

Sat beneath picturesque Mount Fuji, Toyota?s track has fabulous scenery. But the circuit configuration pales in comparison to the vista – and the exceptional Suzuka.

The cars look lost in its vast stretches of tarmac which kill any impression of speed. And the near endless sequence of slow corners – particularly the dreadful final sequence of bends – means it has few rivals for title of F1’s least inspiring track.

History repeating

If last year’s race does prove to be Fuji’s last for F1, it will complete an unusual symmetry with the last time the track was used for the world championship.

Its first race in 1976 was blighted by severe rain – then F1 returned the following year for a final race held in fine conditions. However two spectators were killed after Gilles Villeneuve and Ronnie Peterson crashed during the race.

F1’s return 30 years later saw another rain-hit race and the event descended into farce as the first 18 laps (over half an hour) were spent behind the safety car. Last year’s race saw much better conditions, though the stewards let loose a few thunderbolts of their own with some truly baffling decisions.

Would you rather the Japanese Grand Prix was held at Fuji or Suzuka? Or do you think the rotation system shoiuld stay?

More on Fuji Speedway

60 comments on “Fuji Speedway to disappear from 2010 F1 calendar, things are looking up”

  1. This would be great for F1. Suzuka is on of very few remaining great tracks now……in fact, one of 3, along with Monza and Spa.

    1. Keith, I agree Silverstone is an excellent track and it will be terrible to lose it. But, being the purist I am, I think I would only rate it as a ‘great’ track in the its pre-1991 layout, with the truly amazing Stowe and Club corners, taken pretty much flat in those days. Great memories!

      1. It was great then but it’s still really good now – in fact I’d say Becketts is better in its post-1991 form.

        Of all the tracks that have been ‘modernised’ from their original form, only Spa has retained as much of its original essence as Silverstone has.

    1. I’m all for dropping Valencia but dear God, don’t bring back Imola.
      It’s as bad as Circuit de Catalunya and only gives good races in the wet.

  2. I’m another big Suzuka fan but to be fair the races at Fuji weren’t that bad. I take the point that Fuji is a less than inspiring circuit but the racing was good which is more than you can say about some of the other circuits on the calendar.

  3. i love the photo. massa’s collision with bourdais at turn 1. he’s facing the wrong way! yeh i love suzuka. good thing is if fuji’s gone we can race suzuka on ps3/pc/xbox f12010 next year. i was looking forward to racing suzuka on f109 but no. i agree with K. the fuji races were good but nothing can beat suzuka 2005. best f1 race i’ve ever seen and there’s been some great ones in the last few years.

  4. Suzuka is the best circuit in the world, and Fuji will always pale in comparison, but I wish we had two Japanese Grand Prix. I don’t mind Fuji, and it has produced two great races.

    1. True, but is Fuji really that great to warrant a GP date every year? And aren’t there other countries- Britain, Italy, USA- where two GPs make more historical, commercial and geographical sense?

  5. The cars look lost in its vast stretches of tarmac which kill any impression of speed.

    I always felt that the track was unusually wide but thought that it was just me. Good riddance to a track which owes its most interesting races to driver error and rain.

  6. Oh good, Fuji was never a terribly interesting track. But do you know the reasons for Fuji not running the GP? Is it economic or are there other problems?
    The Fuji owners spent squillions on the Tilke-isation of the circuit, and will not have earned the investment back yet. Is this a prelude to Toyota’s withdrawl from all racing?

  7. I’d root for Suzuka over Fuji any time. But I’d rather have Fuji and Suzuka rotating, than losing Suzuka should the race not be able to make a profit by running alone every season.

  8. I’ll bet many of us would be missing Fuji, had it not been Tilkefied… I do wish they had kept more of the old layout, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. :(

  9. I don’t actually mind the Fuji circuit, in the dry last year we saw a fair amount of racing – for example Kimi v Kubica was brilliant. Yes, the layout is rather dull – but at least we saw good racing in 2007 and 2008. It is certainly better than the Hungaroring – where overtaking chances are pretty non-existant after lap 1 – in the dry of course.

    Suzuka is such a unique layout, it has some awesome corners. Therefore I would prefer Suzuka, but in terms of entertainment and close racing – in my opinion both circuits are not that far away from each other.

        1. Bingo. I’ve never seen a race on the road course at Indy, but it can’t be any worse than Hungary or Valencia.

          Plus, for those of us on a budget, the tickets were cheap. Even if they were doubled in price, they would still be cheaper than most other GP venues :)

  10. YYEEESSS!!!!
    Suzuka is in my opinion one of the best tracks in the world, and Fuji one of the worst.
    If they want two races in Japan they should go to Motegi (great track)

    1. If Gran Turismo is *any* guide, Fuji is utterly dull to drive. (Partially because I always naff-up the first corner).

      Motegi’s OK, but Suzuka is the daddy. Best track in the world IMO, Nurburgring excepted.

  11. I personally think Fuji is a great track that has bought on two great races in it’s newly configured form.

    Suzuka is better in almost ever aspect though. While Fuji is an F1 capable track, and I didn’t mind seeing it alternate, Suzuka every year doesn’t sound bad at all eh?

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