Suzuka to remain on the F1 calendar until at least 2029

Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
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The first Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix was held in 1976 at the Fuji circuit, west of Yokohama. That race was made famous by the fight between James Hunt and Niki Lauda for the championship. In torrential conditions, Lauda, who had survived a fatal crash at that year’s German Grand Prix, withdrew from the race claiming that his life was more important than that year’s championship and Hunt came in third, which was what he needed to win the championship by the margin of one point.

For the return of Formula 1 to Japan in 1987, the new Suzuka Circuit, southwest of Nagoya, was used. The most memorable events are probably the controversial clashes between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna at the latter race in 1989 and 1990.

The Suzuka circuit, with its 18 corners, is the fourth fastest in the world and is definitely a favourite of many fans of the sport and of many drivers, including four-time winner and World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Twelve championships have been decided at this same venue, the last one being in 2022 with Max Verstappen. However, this year it will not be like that, as a result of having 24 Grands Prix on the calendar and in its effort to make travel more efficient and help the environment, F1 has decided to adjust it and the race in Japan will be held in April, between the Australian and Chinese GPs.

Last year, the weekend of the event saw a 12% increase in attendance, welcoming 222,000 fans, and not only that, but in central Tokyo (approximately 4.5 hours from the circuit), they also had their own F1 Fan Festival which was also a resounding success.

With so much history, F1’s CEO has happily announced that the Japanese Grand Prix contract will be extended until 2029 (at least): “Suzuka is a special circuit and part of the fabric of the sport, so I am delighted that F1 will continue to race there until at least 2029.”

Stefano Domenicali, too, was grateful to Honda and wasted no opportunity to mention how passionate the wave of fans is in this country: “Our fans in Japan embrace Formula 1 with a unique passion and we look forward to working with the promoter to give fans the experience they deserve for years to come.”

The F1 President was not the only one to comment, as Tsuyoshi Saito, President and Representative Director of Honda Mobilityland Corporation, added:

“I am pleased that we will be able to continue hosting the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit from 2025 onwards. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Stefano Domenicali and other related Formula 1 members.

“We aim to create a sustainable future and currently we are preparing to welcome many fans for the 2024 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix in April, the first time the event will be held in the spring season.

“We will continue to work together with the local communities and government agencies, including Mie Prefecture and Suzuka City, so that Suzuka can continue to be loved by fans around the world and contribute to the prosperity of motorsports culture and industrial development.”