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Cars at the starting grid for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit in September last year. Image Credit: AP

Paris: The Japanese Grand Prix will stay at Suzuka until at least 2029, Formula 1 organisers announced on Friday.

Formula 1’s contract with the legendary Japanese circuit, one of the drivers’ favourites, was due to expire after the 2024 race but has now been extended by five years.

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This year, for the first time in its history the Japanese Grand Prix, which has been run at Suzuka since 1987 — with the exception of 2007 and 2008 when it was held on the Fuji Speedway — will be run in the early part of the season rather than the end.

Increase in spectators

The FIA has decided to harmonise the Formula One World Championship calendar in order to reduce its carbon footprint, and the Japanese round, the fourth of the season, will therefore be held on April 7, between the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

In 2023, 222,000 spectators visited Suzuka during the Grand Prix weekend, an increase of 10 per cent on 2022, when the circuit returned to the calendar after two editions were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.