Mahindra Racing have been forced to employ freelance mechanics and a race engineer from the team's Italian base after many of the team's regular personnel chose not to make the journey to Motegi this weekend.
The circuit is less than 120km from the Fukushima nuclear plant which was involved in the natural disaster earlier this year, and although declared safe from radiation danger by all agencies, many mechanics have opted not to go.
Senior staff, including Mufaddal Choonia will be there though and the Team Principal respects the decision taken by his mechanics.
“It was difficult, but we felt it right to offer the choice to our team members and we have to respect their decisions. While the information that Dorna has circulated has been very reassuring, it did not seem fair for us to force the guys to head out there if they had their own personal concerns.”
“Of course, it will not make the weekend particularly easy. Mahindra Racing is a slick operation. Each man has his role and they all know the bike inside out. With the temporary staff members we shall do the best we can and hope to carry on the great progress we have made this season. The riders are keen to race and we are delighted to support them.”
“It is also important to be there to support Japan. We all watched in horror as the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima disaster devastated the country. To be hosting a Grand Prix so soon afterwards sends out a very positive signal that our Japanese friends are returning to a sense of normality.”
The riders have travelled too, and Danny Webb has plenty of reasons to be optimistic ahead of a Grand Prix he has led in the past.
“I like the track – good memories. In 2009 I led for more than half the race. Then the conditions changed and my tyres were wrong, but it was good while it lasted. Last year I was seventh. We got both bikes in the points at the last race. We'll see if we can do it again.”
Teammate Marcel Schrotter is making his second appearance at the challenging Motegi track and is hopeful of adding to his impressive points haul.
“Last year was my first at Motegi. It's a tough track: really hard to learn. I hope we can go into the weekend more easily than last year. We can't forget the terrible thing that happened in Japan. The big point is we are very happy now to go racing there.”