The Japanese Grand Prix is to be directed by Formula One Management (FOM) this year, I can confirm.
Alongside Monaco, Japan is one of two races that has in recent years been directed by Fuji Television leading to inferior direction compared to FOM, and focussing on the home drivers’ more such as Takuma Sato and Kamui Kobayashi. The move will therefore please Formula 1 fans around the world, and means that they no longer have to complain about Fuji Television’s direction! The race has been directed by FOM before, but that was only for F1 Digital+ from 1997 to 2002, and only available to a small number of people.
I do wonder if the move has anything to do with dwindling Formula 1 popularity in Japan. Although the Grand Prix is usually a sell-out each and every year, according to a blog post written by James Allen last year, television viewing figures have dropped from 17 million viewers in the early 1990’s to 2 million viewers live on pay television and 5 million viewers on terrestrial television. With the drop in viewership, it is possible that Fuji Television could no longer justify the costs in producing the World Feed to FOM when asked.
It shall be interesting to see if any new camera angles are in force next weekend with FOM taking over duties.