At the risk of sounding like the end of a cheesy kung-fu movie, the future of the Japanese Grand Prix is safe...for now. After Toyota confirmed it could no longer host the race at its Fuji Speedway, Honda has reportedly stepped up to secure a new deal with Bernie Ecclestone to hold the race at its Suzuka circuit for the next three years. Hiroshi Oshima, president of Honda's Mobilityland division met with Ecclestone in Valencia at the European Grand Prix this past weekend to sign the contract.
Toyota finances being what they are, the company is ruthlessly assessing its accounts and making cuts anywhere it deems appropriate. The latest head to roll is the Formula 1 race at Fuji Speedway, Toyota's own circuit. Opened in 1965 and host of the Japanese Grand Prix for the first time in 1976, Formula 1 returned to Fuji in 2007 and 2008, and was due again in 2010.
Emerging reports indicate that Toyota is preparing to nearly double its stake in Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries. Toyota initially bought into Fuji when that other automotive giant, General Motors, sold its 8.7% stake to its Japanese rival. The new share-grab, the door to which was opened by revised Japanese laws, would bring Toyota's partial ownership of Fuji up to 17%, just short of double its current stake.