Super Formula eyes slot on F1 Japanese GP support bill

Super Formula chairman Masahiko Kondo has expressed an interest in holding a race as a support event to the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix in the future.

Toshiki Oyu, TGM Grand Prix leads at the start

Kondo, who took over the chairmanship of Super Formula promoter JRP this month, made the comments in an informal media gathering held ahead of last weekend’s Suzuka race.

The former racing driver and current team owner, whose Kondo Racing squad competes in both Super Formula and Super GT, said previous attempts to arrange such an event were undone by the series’ unwillingness to race in the shadow of F1.

However, amid the championship’s drive to increase its popularity, Kondo believes that attitudes have shifted enough to make an agreement with F1 a possibility.

“Super Formula is Japan’s top category, so there was a time when the series was too proud to take second billing to F1,” said Kondo. “It was like, ‘why should we be second-best to F1?’ 

“But now I think everyone’s way of thinking has become more flexible and it wouldn’t be an issue.”

Kazuto Kotaka, KONDO RACNG

Kazuto Kotaka, KONDO RACNG

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Kondo believes that exposing Super Formula to a larger audience could have the potential to boost the Japanese series’ dwindling trackside attendances seen in recent years.

“At F1 races, tens of thousands of fans attend,” he said. “I’m thinking that, if we were able to show off Super Formula in front of that number of fans, it would be great if some of them would attend our final race [also held at Suzuka] that takes place after the F1 race. 

“But it’s not just up to me. We have to have a lot of meetings… just, speaking as a fan of Super Formula, I would like it to happen.”

A demonstration run involving four cars from what was then known as Formula Nippon took place at the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix.

A pair of Toyota-powered cars, those of Andrea Caldarelli (Kondo Racing) and Yuji Kunimoto (Inging), and two Honda-powered machines driven by Takashi Kobayashi (Real Racing) and Daisuke Nakajima (Nakajima Racing) took part in a mock two-lap race on the morning of the main event.


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