Toyota buys Fuji circuit

Formula One newboy Toyota has bought the majority share of the Fuji race circuit in Japan

Toyota buys Fuji circuit

Toyota, which will enter F1 in 2002 with its own chassis and engine, has bought a 49% share in the track from Mitsubishi Estate, and intends to raise that to a 67% stake in the near future. The deal is estimated to be worth about £30 million.

The Japanese marque, which is the third biggest automotive manufacturer in the world, has said it will develop the track into a "world-class circuit". It wants to bring the facility up to F1 standards and have the possibility of tempting the Japanese Grand Prix away from the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit.

Fuji has only ever staged two Grands Prix, in 1976 and '77, but is thought to want to host Japan's round of the World Championship when Suzuka's deal expires in 2007.

Toyota has also been linked to landing a sponsorship deal with soft drinks giant Coca-Cola for its F1 project. A spokesman for the team said: "There is nothing to announce about Coca-Cola at the moment, and if there was we would have no hesitation in saying so."

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