The Fuji International Speedway was built in 1965 as an American-style track complete with banking, but with some corners along one of the sides. Money ran out before the banking was completed so it became a compromise circuit, part road course, part track, rather like Monza was when the banking was used.
Set beneath Mount Fuji, an extinct volcano which is regarded as sacred by the Shinto religion, mist was always a problem and rain could be too, as the Formula One circus discovered in 1976.
For the first World Championship race to be held in Asia, the circuit was modified, omitting the 30-degree banking. The result was a 2.709-mile, medium-fast, road circuit with just five corners.
The torrential rain in 1976 endeared the circuit to nobody and when Gilles Villeneuve's car somersaulted the following year, killing a spectator and a marshal, Fuji's fate was sealed so far as F1 was concerned. It should be said, however, that both victims were in a prohibited area.
After 1977, the circuit underwent minor changes, including the insertion of two chicanes. Between 1982 and 1988, Fuji hosted a round of the World Championship for sports cars, while the main straight was used for drag racing in the late 80s.
In late 2000 the circuit was bought by Toyota, its fierce rival Honda owning Suzuka, home of the Japanese round of the Formula One World Championship.
Three years later the circuit was closed down in order to allow a major upgrade of the track, with Hermann Tilke called in to help re-profile many of the corners.
The heavily revised track was re-opened on 10 April 2005, and from the outset there was speculation as to whether F1 would be returning, especially since Toyota was now running its own F1 team.
In late 2006 came the official confirmation that Fuji would replace Suzuka as host to the Japanese Grand Prix from 2007, a major blow to drivers and fans who loved the unique challenge of the figure-of-eight track.
At 1.5 km, the main straight at Fuji is the longest on the F1 calendar.