A bid has formed to bring Formula 1 to Osaka, Japan, but with that meaning Suzuka faces a possible threat to its Japanese Grand Prix hosting rights, fans are split on whether this is a good thing or not.
Having first hosted a World Championship Japanese Grand Prix in 1987, Suzuka has been the exclusive home of the event since 2009 and has become one of the most well-recognised stops on the F1 calendar and certainly a popular one with the drivers.
But now Osaka fancies a piece of the F1 action, after the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau confirmed a private sector-led effort to bring together a grands prix.
Some fans want Suzuka to stay, others feel F1 has evolved away
Suzuka’s current contract to host the Japanese Grand Prix is up at the end of 2024, meaning the potential threat from this Osaka bid is immediate, though Suzuka’s storied F1 history is not enough for fans to universally be calling for it to stay.
The initial story saw a section of fans emerge who are against the Osaka plans, considering it would involve another street circuit setting, while others believe that Suzuka no longer lends itself to exciting action with modern Formula 1 machinery, so would be fine seeing it drop off the calendar.
“Interesting but the whole 100% privately backed doesn’t sound good! Should remain at Suzuka!” one fan posted in favour of the Japanese Grand Prix continuing to be held at Suzuka.
“Suzuka is one of the greatest race tracks in the history of racing, and is a driver favourite,” a fellow fan said in support.
“I love Japan but no more street circuits thanks. Suzuka is a brilliant track,” another fan posted. “It will never come close to Suzuka,” a fan insisted.
Formula 1 has increased its use of street circuits over recent years, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Miami International Autodrome and Las Vegas Strip Circuit all such venues which have joined the fray.
And some fans do not want to see Osaka representing the next street track addition.
“Another street track? What a revolutionary, original idea that fans are certainly not tired of,” one fan sarcastically posted.
“We don’t need another street circuit. STOP,” another fan posted. “No more street races, it’s a joke” and “we don’t need another street circuit, especially not to replace Suzuka” represented further fan support for that way of thinking.
However, there were some entering this conversation, who while not denying Suzuka’s history and quality as a race track, feel it no longer generates good Formula 1 racing action with the bigger, DRS-dependent cars of the modern era.
“Suzuka hasn’t produced a great race for ages,” a fan claimed. “Same as Spa. Heritage doesn’t mean anything if the races are dreadful.”
“Suzuka has great history and memories…but has it really produced great racing recently?? Are the current cars different,” a fellow fan posted with a similar thought process.
Of course, a grands prix in Osaka would not necessarily mean Suzuka heads for the F1 exit door, one fan saying: “Would be a pity to lose Suzuka, but I would be in favour of an additional race in Osaka.”
Formula 1’s recent popularity spike, beyond a level the series has ever seen before, has triggered this intense competition for a spot on the calendar, though with 24 rounds planned for F1 2024, seen as the calendar at its capacity by series chief Stefano Domenicali, the odds for getting two places on the schedule would not be in Japan’s favour.