Japan will continue to have its own Formula 1 Grand Prix until at least 2018 after Suzuka Circuit officials renewed their contract with the sport’s commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone.
The track’s president Hiroshi Soda met with Ecclestone this week in London to finalise a new five-year deal, which kicks off in 2014 – one year before the circuit’s owner, Honda, returns to the series as McLaren’s new engine supplier.
Mr Soda expressed hopes that Honda’s impending return would bolster ticket sales to the event, which is expected to suffer a drop in crowd numbers this year due to the absence of a local driver in the field.
“Public interest has increased since the Honda announcement, but Honda’s return is still two years away so we are not expecting a direct impact on ticket sales,” he told AUTOSPORT.
“It is great to see Honda back in F1 in 2015. I am sure that the Japanese Grand Prix will attract greater attention than ever,” Ecclestone added.
Suzuka has been part of the landscape every year since the 1987 season, with the exception of the 2008 and 2009 races, which were held at the Toyota-owned Mt Fuji circuit.