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F1 agrees deal for Japanese GP to stay at Suzuka until 2029

The news will be welcomed by drivers and fans alike who feared that the series is moving too far away from its classic venues.

Prior to the agreement the event was one of the last with no guaranteed place on the calendar beyond this season after a run of deals that has seen most races secure their spots well into the future.

The last remaining race that currently has a contract that runs out after this season’s edition is Silverstone, but it’s believed that a deal to keep the British GP firmly on the schedule is not far away.

The new Suzuka contract is not as long as those handed to the likes of Australia (running to 2035) and Bahrain (2036), but at five years it is longer than the track’s previous arrangement, which ran for three seasons.

While that was due to run out this year, there was never any real doubt that an extended deal would eventually be done, especially given that Honda is committed to a works presence as Aston Martin’s power unit partner from 2026 onwards.

The circuit has kept F1 onside by starting on an upgrade programme and by backing a successful fan event in Tokyo last year, which is likely to be repeated this season.

The deal also reduces the chances of a proposed street event in Osaka coming to fruition.

While the Osaka authorities have indicated that theirs could be a second Japanese event, the chances of F1 agreeing to have two races that are just 130kms apart by road appear to be slim, especially given the busy calendar. Had Suzuka not agreed terms, Osaka’s case would have been much stronger.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

This year’s Japanese GP is being held in April, falling into a slot between Australia and China that is favourable for freight in terms of cost and emissions.

“Suzuka is a special circuit and part of the fabric of the sport,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “So I am delighted that F1 will continue to race there until at least 2029.

“As we prepare to return to Japan earlier than usual this season, l would like to express my huge gratitude to the promoter and team at Honda MobilityLand for supporting our effort towards greater calendar rationalisation as we look to make the sport more sustainable.

“Our fans in Japan embrace F1 with a unique passion and we look forward to working with the promoter to give fans the experience they deserve for years to come.”

Honda Mobilityland president Tsuyoshi Saito added: “We aim to create a sustainable future, and currently we are preparing to welcome many fans for the 2024 F1 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.”

This article was originally published by a www.motorsport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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