Toro Rosso confirms Yamamoto's Suzuka practice outing

Naoki Yamamoto will make his Formula 1 weekend debut driving for Toro Rosso in the Japanese Grand Prix’s first Friday practice session, as predicted by Motorsport.com.

Toro Rosso confirms Yamamoto's Suzuka practice outing

Yamamoto will replace Pierre Gasly in FP1 at Suzuka this Friday, fulfilling Honda’s desire for a local driver to take part in the event the company supports financially.

The Honda-backed driver is fighting for a second Super Formula title in a row and will return to Suzuka at the end of October for the final round of Japan’s premier single-seater series.

Yamamoto has driven Toro Rosso’s simulator and spent time with the team at European races earlier in 2019 to get to know its engineering staff.

Usually a driver who wants to take part in FP1 would apply for a free-practice only superlicence and complete 300km of running in an F1 car beforehand to qualifying.

However, as reigning Super Formula and Super GT champion Yamamoto comfortably satisfies the requirement for an outright F1 superlicence, which he has obtained, simplifying the process.

Read Also:

Yamamoto said his FP1 outing would fulfill a childhood “dream” and that “to get this chance at Suzuka, a very important circuit for all Japanese racing drivers, in front of such a big crowd of Japanese fans, will make the experience even more special”.

He said: “My main aim in FP1 will be to do a good job for the team, gathering data and information which will be useful for them over the weekend.

“On a personal note, I want to enjoy the experience of driving an F1 car as much as possible and I will be trying my very best to get the most out of it.

“It will be a special moment and I’m glad I will get to share it with the fans at this amazing race track, where I first watched Formula 1 cars in action 27 years ago.”

The last Japanese driver in F1 was Kamui Kobayashi in 2014, while Honda last had a homegrown driver behind the wheel of one of its cars when Takuma Sato raced for the Super Aguri team in the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix.

 

Honda wants a driver to race in F1 again but its highest-placed proteges on the F1 feeder series radar have so far failed to secure the necessary superlicence points for Honda to take advantage of its relationship with Red Bull and its junior team Toro Rosso.

Some talks have taken place about whether Yamamoto would be viable, but he would be a considerable gamble aged 31 and having never raced in Europe.

“We are pleased that Japanese fans will now get the opportunity to see Yamamoto, a Honda-supported Japanese driver at the wheel of a current F1 car at our own Suzuka circuit, as part of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend,” said Honda’s brand and communication boss Katsuhide Moriyama.

“I would like to thank Toro Rosso and Red Bull for giving Yamamoto this great opportunity.

“We hope Naoki makes the most of this opportunity, that he learns from it and that it helps him as a racing driver.

“We also hope that seeing Yamamoto on track, will serve as an inspiration to young Japanese drivers, so that in the near future, we can once again have Japanese drivers competing in Formula 1.”

shares
comments
Hamilton: Dirty air data for 2021 cars looks "great"

Previous article

Hamilton: Dirty air data for 2021 cars looks "great"

Next article

Renault: McLaren split a "lost opportunity"

Renault: McLaren split a "lost opportunity"
Load comments
The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021