- Jul 4, 2009
REPORT: Toyota woes spell trouble for Fuji Speedway
Toyota's Timo Glock at the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway
In any game of chicken, it's all about who flinches first. Ever since its first running in 1963, the Japanese Grand Prix has bounced between Fuji Speedway and Suzuka Circuit, the former dominating in the '60s and '70s before the latter got the exclusive in the late-'80s through 2006, at which point Fuji took over again. The rivalry is about more than just the tracks, though: With Toyota owning Fuji and arch-rival Honda owning Suzuka, the back-and-forth has become something of a turf war between the country's automotive powerhouses.
Two years ago, the two tracks worked out a deal that would have the race alternating year to year, sort of like Germany's arrangement between Hockenheim and the Nürburgring. However, emerging reports suggest that tightening belts at Toyota could spell trouble for Fuji Speedway. The costs of hosting a Formula 1 grand prix event continue to escalate, and those costs may be harder to justify for the cash-strapped auto giant – especially if ticket sales don't cover the budget. Honda is likely in no better a financial situation, as evidenced by their unfortunate withdrawal from the sport. But if Toyota flinches first, Honda might win the race... in one sense or another.
[Source: F1-Live | Image: Mark Thompson/Getty]