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?

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

  1. Geoffrey said on 2nd June 2009, 1:49

    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”.

  2. Bas said on 2nd June 2009, 12:20

    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)

  3. BigG said on 2nd June 2009, 14:15

    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…)

  4. Gman said on 2nd June 2009, 20:21

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. whitmarsh said on 17th January 2010, 1:38

    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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