The Japanese Grand Prix will
move to the Fuji International Speedway next year.
Official confirmation came on Friday, after months of rumours, which intensified at the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this month. The circuit, which is owned by Toyota, put out an announcement that they have reached an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Administration Limited, which will see it become the venue for the Japanese GP from 2007.
"We, at FOA, have the pleasure that Fuji Speedway, as the brand new venue nestled at the foot of the most majestic Mt. Fuji, will be the new home of Japanese F1 Grand Prix," said Ecclectone. "We also have a good expectation that the F1 event there would be the opening of new era of Formula One history."
Since the commemoration of the opening of the Fuji circuit nearly 40 years ago in 1966, it has staged numerous international and domestic car races of sport cars, grand touring cars, and formula cars. Fuji Speedway was also used to host the first and second Japanese F1 Grand's Prix in 1976 and 1977. The 2007 Japanese F1 GP will mark the thirty year anniversary.
In 2005 Fuji Speedway completed its overall renovation of the international racecourse and related facilities - which was rumoured to cost in the region of $150 million. When opening the revamped circuit, Fuji became certified to hold F1 races since it earned a 'Grade 1' license from the FIA, the sports governing body.
Where this leaves Suzuka meanwhile, which incidentally is owned by Toyota's arch rival, Honda and which has hosted the Japanese GP every year since 1987, is unknown, although some reports suggest it may still hold a grand prix next year, possibly re-badged as the Asian or Pacific GP.
Time will tell...