|© AP Photo/Mark Baker
The Japanese Grand Prix will continue to host Formula 1 races at the Suzuka track until at least 2018 after signing a new deal.
Hiroshi Soda, the president of the Mobilityland Corporation that runs the circuit, reached an agreement with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone on a new contract from 2014-18.
"It is with great pleasure we have signed a formal contract after having had negotiations since we reached a basic agreement in March," Soda said Friday in a statement. "I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Bernie Ecclestone for showing us a great deal of understanding in the process. We will continue to work hard to ensure Suzuka remains a venue loved by fans world over."
Interest in the sport is likely to increase when manufacturer Honda makes its return in 2015 as engine supplier to the McLaren team.
The Japanese automaker pulled out of the sport five years ago due to the effects of the global financial crisis, but now hopes to recreate a partnership that was dominant in the 1980s and 1990s.
Between 1988 and ‘92 McLaren and Honda won eight world championships and 44 Grand Prix races, took pole position 53 times and set 30 fastest laps - all in just 80 races.
"It is also great to see Honda back in Formula 1," Ecclestone said. "I am sure the Japanese Grand Prix will attract greater attention than ever."