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Fuji circuit withdraws from F1, report says

TOYOTA-OWNED Fuji International Speedway is reportedly planning to pull out of hosting the 2010 Japanese Formula One Grand Prix.

The world's biggest auto maker has refused to comment on reports carried by domestic newspapers and Japan's national news agency.

Fuji has decided not to host the 2010 race, Kyodo News agency reported yesterday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

A Toyota spokesman told the Associated Press: "It's true that (Fuji Speedway) is making various considerations regarding its hosting of the event next year," but refused to elaborate further.

Toyota has been hit by the global economic downturn. The company expects the current fiscal year through March 2010 to be its worst ever financially, forecasting a net loss of US$5.7 billion.

Fuji Speedway hosted the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007 and 2008 for the first time in 30 years, replacing the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit.

The 2009 Japanese Grand Prix will be held at Suzuka, near the city of Nagoya. It was expected that the race would alternate between Suzuka and Fuji beginning this year.

Meanwhile, Red Bull replaced Formula One reserve driver Brendon Hartley with Jaime Alguersuari yesterday.

Spain's Alguersuari, 19, will assume his new duties at next week's German Grand Prix.

Hartley, who held the post since the start of the season, will concentrate "on his own racing program in the European F3 series," the Austrian team said.

Alguersuari, who last year became the youngest ever British F3 champion, is currently competing in the Renault World Series.

Red Bull trails only Brawn GP in the constructors' standings.


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