Japanese Grand Prix to Stay on F1 Calendar Until 2012 Atleast

March 10, 2011

The Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka circuit has agreed an extension to continue as a fixture of the Formula One calendar until at least 2012.

With venues and hopeful hosting cities emerging at a rapid rate, the circuit’s long–term Formula One future looks more uncertain, having held it’s first Grand Prix in 1987.

This season was set to be the longest ever F1 schedule until the Bahrain Grand Prix was called off because of civil unrest, however it is unknown as to whether the race will be reinstated in the 2011 calendar at a later date. This season’s 53 lap Suzuka race will be held on 9th October.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said 20 races, which the 2011 was scheduled for, is the maximum the F1 calender should be with the United States scheduled to return to F1 with a new track in Austin, Texas in 2012 and Russia joining the calendar for the first time in 2014.

This leaves circuits who pay lower fees and have shorter contracts, such as Suzuka, vulnerable to dropping off the list entirely.  Suzuka, like Britain’s Silverstone circuit, is not supported by national or local government, meaning the US$48.4m-$80.6m a year to host the race has to be privately funded. 

According to media reports, Suzuka look particularly vulnerable following a decline in Japanese involvement in the sport after the Honda team pulled out of F1 in 2008, with Toyota following a year later.