F1 Japan GP Held for First Time in Spring in Suzuka Circuit; Event Usually Held in Autumn Often Plagued by Bad Weather

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Racing cars run under the cherry blossoms at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, on Friday.

SUZUKA, Mie — The race cars roared under the cherry blossoms in full bloom as the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix kicked off Friday at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. This is the first time that the Japanese GP has been held in the spring.

A free practice session was held on the day, with 20 cars from 10 teams participating. The final race will start at 2 p.m. Sunday.

“It is special for me to race under the cherry blossoms and in front of the Japanese people,” said Yuki Tsunoda, who competes in the Japanese GP races as a Japanese driver.

In the past, the Japanese GP has been held in the autumn and has often been plagued by bad weather. This year, however, the event was brought forward to the same season as the Australian and Chinese GPs, which are held in March and April, respectively. The aim is reportedly to reduce the environmental impact and costs associated with transporting race cars and other equipment.