Key figures close to the Japanese Grand Prix have worked quickly to dissuade concerns of possible radiation exposure during race weekend at Suzuka, in the wake of leading MotoGP riders announcing they will boycott their own championship race later this year.
Championship riders Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo have announced that they will not travel for October’s championship race at Motegi, which is located just 100km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which sustained critical damage in the wake of this year’s earthquake and tsunami crisis.
The Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix occurs in the same month, albeit it at the Suzuka circuit, which is located much further away.
It is for this reason that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone – who has already seen this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled due to political unrest in the country – believes that the race “will go on as usual.”
He added: “I don’t think people would ask everyone to go there if it wasn’t safe,” when speaking with reporters during the weekend’s German Grand Prix.
“I do not know why motorcycle riders are reacting like they are,” he continued. “Here in F1, no one thinks that there is a problem.”
The Suzuka circuit’s spokesperson Masaru Unno added that the distance between Fukishima and the Suzuka circuit was so great that it would pose no risk to F1 fans travelling to the event, while also confirming that the venue was providing Ecclestone with read-outs of radiation levels from the area.
Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi is optimistic that his home Grand Prix will run without any concerns.
He told Al Jazeera: “Nobody is worried in Japan. Going to Suzuka will show support for the people. I expect people to come from everywhere to Suzuka.”
Ecclestone also confirmed that he had personally bought over 3,000 tickets for the event, which he planned to give away to fans in a gesture of support to the quake victims.
[Image via EnterF1]