Makino: Being taken out by teammate "unbelievable"
Tadasuke Makino says he couldn't believe it when he realised his Nakajima Racing teammate Toshiki Oyu was to blame for being eliminated at the first corner of last weekend's Okayama Super Formula round.
Saturday practice pacesetter Makino started Sunday's race from fourth on the grid, one spot ahead of Oyu, and looked set to move up into the podium positions as he swept by a slow-starting Ritomo Miyata off the line.
But any hopes of a first top-three Super Formula result came to an end moments later when Oyu locked up under braking for Turn 1, piling into the back of his teammate.
Makino's car then took out Sacha Fenestraz, who had started third, with the pair eliminated from the race on the spot and forced to trudge back to the pits.
Oyu meanwhile was able to continue after pitting for a new front wing, albeit being handed a drive-through penalty for causing the melee.
Makino told Motorsport.com the incident was especially frustrating because his pace in the pre-race warm-up session suggested a podium was on the cards.
"In the beginning I didn’t know what happened, just that somebody had hit me and I spun," recalled Makino. "Then I saw the replay and I saw Oyu hit me. Unbelievable.
"I had a really good start, and the race pace looked good. In warm-up I was using a tyre already with 20 laps on it, and with a full tank. I felt good, much better than in Motegi.
Asked if felt a first podium was possible, he replied: "I think so. Really frustrating."
Fenestraz, who qualified third, was equally critical of Oyu, labelling him "too aggressive".
"I don’t know what Oyu was trying to do," Fenestraz told Motorsport.com. "He was very far back. He didn’t just outbrake himself by a little, it was by a lot. You can tell from the video. He ruined his own race and his own teammate’s race.
"He came to say sorry which is good. It looks like sometimes he is too aggressive, last year in F3 sometimes you could see it as well. It’s a shame, we had a big chance today."
For his part, Oyu admitted fault for what he simply described as a "braking mistake".
"It seemed like my teammate Makino and Sacha were both going to have good races, and so I feel very sorry for ruining that," said the rookie, who went on to finish 15th.
With Kenta Yamashita's replacement Sena Sakaguchi having already crashed out on the formation lap, which led to the start being delayed, the Turn 1 crash effectively signified the end of the weekend for Kondo Racing.
"It was heart-breaking to see the team packing up already after two laps," Fenestraz said. "That was more painful than the crash. In my crash, I couldn’t do anything.
"It’s a shame for Sena, he just spun. But when it's your first time in this car, these things can happen. It’s easy to do, the turbo is quite aggressive."
Sacha Fenestraz, Kondo Racing
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
Cassidy laments the "win that got away" at Okayama
Super Formula drivers pushed for return of pitstops
Honda junior drivers racing in Formula 2 has become a regular sight in recent years, but eight years ago the Japanese marque made a rather left-field choice for its first driver to send to race in the F1 support series.
Ex-Formula 1 racer Roberto Merhi will contest next week’s final round of the Super Formula Lights season at Okayama as he targets a drive in Super Formula for 2023.
Team Mugen driver Ukyo Sasahara is convinced he would have been part of this year's Super Formula title battle without some of the bad luck he has encountered this season.
The fact that new Nissan Formula E signing Sacha Fenestraz is pushing to stay in Japan next season is great news for fans of Super Formula and SUPER GT, even if calendar clashes mean he won't be contending for either title next year.