Learning from the problems of 2007
Fuji Speedway promised on Wednesday that it will do a better job hosting the Japanese Grand Prix in October after last year's event was marred by debacles.
Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway, in the foothills of Mount Fuji, hosted the Japanese
Grand Prix for the first time in 30 years last year, replacing the Suzuka Circuit, rival Honda's home track. The Japanese Grand Prix is the 16th leg of the 18-round Formula One series.
Last year, more than 7,000 of the spectators, who each paid 61,000 yen (525 US dollars) for a reserved seat, could not clearly see the circuit because views from their section were obstructed. A road leading to the venue also collapsed in heavy rain and temporarily stopped the park-and-ride shuttle buses for spectators.
Fuji Speedway executives said at a news conference that they had learned from last year's trouble.
"We are determined this year to make it a successful race at any cost by solving all these problems. We are determined to do our very best," Fuji Speedway Vice President Yukio Takase said.
He said staff for the event will be increased by 2,000 for a total of 5,000. The speedway will also increase the number of shuttle buses by 400 to 1,650, along with some 850 buses run by travel agencies. Organisers will increase the number of installed toilets and widen the circuit's lighting areas to 100 percent, Takase said.
Fuji Speedway President Hiroaki Kato said organisers had made amends with disappointed fans, including by refunding 7,100 tickets. "We also repaid those who couldn't arrive due to delayed buses," he said.