Super Formula’s hopes of Suzuka F1 support race fading

The Japanese single-seater series released a seven-round 2024 calendar back in August, with an earlier-than-usual start to the season at Suzuka on March 10.

This was because of F1’s annual visit to Japan being shifted from the autumn to April, when the Super Formula campaign has traditionally begun.

However, the two-month gap between the Suzuka opener and the next race on the schedule at Autopolis in May hinted at the possibility of an extra race being added to fill the gap.

JRP President Yoshihisa Ueno confirmed to Motorsport.com some weeks ago that there have been talks with the organisers of the Japanese GP regarding a potential Super Formula support event.

However, when asked for an update on the situation at last month’s Suzuka finale, he described the prospects of the race taking place as “difficult”, although he denied that the reason for the lack of progress in talks was financial in nature.

Stumbling blocks to a Super Formula support race are believed to include scheduling difficulties and the question of where the Japanese series’ teams would be based with the main pit building and paddock reserved for F1.

Assuming that the F1 support race does not go ahead, it means that the 2024 Super Formula season is likely to comprise nine races over seven weekends, as per 2023.

The final two rounds on the provisional schedule at Fuji and Suzuka in October and November respectively are likely to become double-header events.

A single pre-season test is set to be held at Suzuka in early March before the start of the season.

Ueno reiterated a desire to add more rounds to the Super Formula schedule in future at Suzuka, with the early start and late finish to the 2024 calendar aimed at extending the length of the season to allow additional dates to be slotted in more easily.

The late April weekend that was used for this year’s second round of the season at Suzuka was deemed too late to act as the date for the season opener.

Final confirmation of the 2024 Super Formula calendar, including the number of races, is set to be provided by Japanese federation JAF in late November or early December.

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