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Fuji to Clash with Japanese GP; WEC “Looking at” Solutions

WEC trying to solve Japanese date clash between 6H Fuji, Japanese GP…

Photo: Toyota

Gerard Neveu and the FIA World Endurance Championship are trying to find a solution to a clash between the Six Hours of Fuji and Japanese Grand Prix next year.

The 2019 Formula 1 schedule, released on Friday, includes the Japanese round at Suzuka on Oct. 13, the same day as the WEC race at Fuji.

It is one of four clashes between the two series in 2019, but the only one which involves two races in the same country.

“Gerard and the WEC team will be looking at this issue in the coming days, in light of what he said at a media briefing at Silverstone about it not being feasible for Japan to host two major FIA championships on the same weekend,” a WEC spokesperson told Sportscar365.

“More than that, we can’t comment at the moment.”

Neveu explained at Silverstone earlier this month that it would be “impossible” to hold two major motorsport events on the same weekend in Japan.

“It’s impossible to organize in Japan two international events in the same weekend because there is a gentleman’s agreement between the race tracks which is very smart, and the second reason is because we share some common extrication team,” he explained.

While the series is now working on a solution for the clash with F1, Neveu previously stated that he had “no other option” for the Fuji date, when questioned regarding the race also clashing with the Motul Petit Le Mans for the second year in a row.

“For me, my date is on the second week of October,” he said.

“I have no choice because I need to have a gap for the transportation from Europe to Japan. I need to have a gap from Japan to China.

“I’m doing my best, but I have no other option.

“Except to say I can go maybe in Japan three weeks before, but in this case, all the paddock will complain because they will have just two weeks between Silverstone and Fuji and it doesn’t work like this, or because the calendar is not available in Fuji. I had no other option.”

It is unlikely that the Japanese Grand Prix date will change, as moving it either one week forward or back would create a triple-header, something which the series is doing away with for 2019.

Three other clashes between WEC and F1 are also currently scheduled in 2019, including Sebring on the weekend of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Furthermore, the 2019-20 WEC opener at Silverstone will clash with the Belgian Grand Prix, while the Brazilian Grand Prix is on the same weekend as Shanghai.

Neveu previously explained he is working to avoid a clash between the Shanghai race and FIA GT World Cup in Macau, which would also alleviate that weekend’s F1 clash.

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

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