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

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

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. Suzuka all the way :)

  2. Paul Sainsbury
    30th May 2009, 2:12

    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. …and Silverstone. At least, until the end of this year.

    2. Paul Sainsbury
      30th May 2009, 18:02

      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.

    3. Monaco’s a great venue. As a showpiece event you couldn’t ask for more.

      And I suppose part of what makes it great is how extreme the track is. But you wouldn’t want more than one of them!

  3. Suzuka at night would be amazing.
    F1 needs to drop valencia and bring back imola.

    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. All in favor of dropping Valencia, raise your hands…..:)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. Actually I think he’s facing the right way at turn 15!

  6. 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?

  7. Boston F1 Fan
    30th May 2009, 4:54

    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.

  8. Good riddance. Now can someone do the same with all the Asian/Middle Eastern tracks? I will love you forever :D

    1. Not Suzuka or Sepang, I’d say. And I quite like Singapore too, though it could do with being a bit shorter.

  9. HounslowBusGarage
    30th May 2009, 8:18

    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?

  10. 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.

  11. Stealthman
    30th May 2009, 9:28

    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. :(

    1. I do wish they had kept more of the old layout

      Me too – you have to wonder what sort of freakishly tiny amount of time they’d lap it in!

  12. 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.

  13. Fuji and Hungary going? Would be great. Bring back Montreal and Indy!

    1. You took the words out of my mouth TommyB!

      1. Hear, hear.

        1. Three cheers for that, and make sure Silverstone is also protected as well :)

  14. The best would be Suzuka in Fuji scenery.

    1. Yeah, but keep the ferris wheel!!

  15. Massa’s 2008 car looks sooo weird now that i am used to the 2009 versions!

    1. I know the back wing looks so low!!

    2. Why Indy?Singapore

      1. F2008 big fan
        1st June 2009, 3:29

        for me it was the best car ever made by ferrari’s best engineers. look at that aero parts, extremely cool!

      2. “Why Indy?”

        So that I can watch an F1 race in my country and take my friends to show them why it is the best racing in the world!

        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 :)

  16. 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. The oval or road course? ;)

    2. 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.

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


    1. Always good to hear :-)

  18. 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?

  19. Suzuka forever…

  20. With this Toyota track disappearing from the calendar, can this be seen as yet another indication of Toyota leaving F1…

  21. i like the idea of rotating tracks in and out of the schedule. this enables more variety, while sharing the wealth/burden.

  22. Suzuka should never leave the schedule,it is a fantastic track.Fuji however…..yaaaaawn….

  23. The Sri Lankan
    30th May 2009, 23:21

    I loved races at Fuji. DOnt mind Suzuka but i pray the two would alternate in the future. and hopefully with a revised un-tilke’d Motegei joining the two

  24. I’d rather see another race in the Caesar’s Palace car park, than see the cars go round this current version of Fuji Speedway again.

  25. Suzuka surely the better track.It has produced some wonderful races.2005 comes to mind.I think it was raikkonen who overtook fisi on the last lap

  26. for the lead,that is

  27. TeamOrders
    1st June 2009, 2:42

    I wont miss Fuji, Suzuka is probably the 2nd best track in the world for F1’s (Spa being the best).

  28. But if Honda cannot afford to run an F1 team, how can it afford to run an F1 racing circuit?

  29. I would choose Suzuka over Fuji every time, but I wouldn’t have Fuji at the top of my list of current tracks I want to see the back of.

    I think Fuji’s popularity suffered as soon as it was announced because it replaced one of the best tracks in Suzuka. Most new tracks are disliked from the start by us fans for that reason.

    It’s like saying would you like a race in Abu Dhabi, or would you like a race in Abu Dhabi but we are not going to Canada.

  30. Suzuka is a brilliant layout. I don’t think it’s produced many exciting races in the last little while (bar ’05 of course, which was turned on its head because of a wet quali). The scenery is a little irrelevant at Fuji. When can you ever see it through the fog?

    Suzuka, “for sure”.

  31. I think Suzuka is the better venue, mainly because of logistics but also because of its longer, more challenging layout.
    But I wouldnt say its one of those great tracks, ‘classics’ so to speak. And it hasnt become much better over the years; not only is overtaking rather difficult, some of its best corners have lost their ‘touch’ a bit. The 3rd corner of Snake, Dunlop Curve and the unnamed 130R bend have all been ‘modified’, and Degner Curve was changed completely many years ago which ruined this corner’s original feel. Still, I think that Suzuka, more than any racetrack from the sixties has maintained its character over years, testimony to the vision of track designer Hans Hugenholtz sr.
    Fuji Speedway, on the other hand does not not pose nearly the same kind of challenge to the drivers, but allows for easier overtaking. And its much safer. But otherwise its a dreadful, uninspired, slow, small and difficult to reach venue.
    Once it was a truly daring 6km track, on par with Suzuka, with dangerous, fast corners like the banked Daiichi, the fast Suntory lefthander, 100R, 300R and banked Final Corner it was a real fast circuit, based on plans for a 4km trioval superspeedway that was never completed.
    If only they would bring back the old, hi-speed hanked Daiichi corner… (its still there, but theres no way it can be made safe enough)

  32. I think it should be part of the regulations that F1 must hold a GP at Suzuka, Spa, Monza, and Monaco. (and perhaps Silverstone, if just for Copse & Becketts!) I don’t remember many boring dry races at these tracks. (and when the rain does fall…)

  33. I have only heard good things about Suzuka and am looking forward to seeing the race this season. Last year Fuji really didn’t do anything for me in terms of good racing- it was like a much slower version of Valencia, with better landscapes. Plus, if Toyota either quits F1 as a constructor or is rejected with their 2010 entry, there will be little need to keep racing at Fuji.

  34. Most of my love for Fuji is its place in 80’s video games, F1 history is a bit of a different animal.

    I’d rather that Fuji have the old sweeping final corner, it’s the new sector three that ruins it, so with that in mind… Suzuka all the way.

  35. If any of you have followed Fuji speedway you know that it is cursed. So many strange things have occured there. A large list of events could be made. that is also where that jgtc pilot had his car explode when it hit the wall… and where a car flipped like a pancake into a bridge overpass above the track… throw that in with a few deaths…it is cursed I tell you!

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