Honda eager to bring Japanese driver into F1

2018 F1 season

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Honda motorsport general management Mashashi Yamamoto says the manufacturer hopes to bring a Japanese driver into Formula 1 soon.

Formula Two drivers Nirei Fukuzumi and Tadasuke Makino are backed by the company, but neither will have enough FIA superlicence points to be able to compete in the 2019 F1 season.

“Obviously to have a Japanese driver on the Formula 1 grid is very important for Japan and for ourselves for the future of this motorsport in Japan,” said Yamamoto in today’s FIA press conference.”

Makino lies 13th in F2, four places ahead of Fukuzumi, who scored his first victory at Monza last month. Fukuzumi (pictured) is also a Red Bull Athlete, though not a member the Junior Team from which its recent F1 graduates have been drawn.

Fukuzumi also races in Japan’s Super Formula championship, but the pair are likely to remain in F2 next year.

“Regarding the series that they run in, as you know, the teams have been working with the new regulations, a lot of changes, trying rolling starts etc… so it hasn’t been a very stable series this series itself. But they are both very good drivers and we are educating them for a bright future.”

The last Japanese driver to race in F1 was Kamui Kobayashi with Caterham in 2014.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 19 comments on “Honda eager to bring Japanese driver into F1”

    1. This is too expected for PR Honda side. It’s hard for japanese drivers as they don’t leave their own series a lot. They should visit the other series much more for experience and name reconisement at the moment both drivers are in the grey massa.

      1. “reconisement” – don’t you just love auto-spell…? ;)

    2. We need good drivers, not marketing tools.

      1. (@ivan-vinitskyy) I agree, If Honda or other Japanese companies connected to F1 want to see a Japanese driver/s. They should be putting their money where their mouths are and sponsor young Japanese drivers to race at the top level in Europe.

        1. @johnrkh Isn’t that exactly what they’re doing? The article explains they are sponsoring two drivers in F2 and quotes Honda’s Yamamoto as saying “they are educating them for a bright future.”

    3. I hear Yuji Ide is looking for a job….

    4. Too bad the arguably best fit Japanese driver is a Toyota driver…

    5. Hopefully they’ve got someone else coming through the lower, because neither of those two guys have stood out in F2… and Matsushita was a little bit inconsistent (think he’s off the F1 path now, though).

      Maybe they could utilise Red Bull’s experience to create a proper training programme for young Japanese drivers.

    6. Like… Kobayashi!!!!

      1. I loved that guy!

        1. Indeed, guess he was too charismatic for F1.

    7. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      5th October 2018, 11:03

      Oh, dear god you know what this means. The return of…. Sakon Yamamoto

    8. One word: Sato! :)

      1. He’s probably the best qualified of all active Japanese drivers, with maybe Nakajima 2nd.

        Although people don’t like giving “failed” ex-F1 drivers a 2nd chance (unless Toro Rosso are despirate).

    9. We always give Japanese drivers a hard time. Ukyo Katayama was the real deal as far as I’m concerned and he never got a fair shot. Same goes for Kobayashi. Kazuki Nakajima has proven to be a good driver as well after he left F1.

      1. +1 but not so sure about those two mentioned in the article…

    10. Dont want to watch no. in F2… Please no more STRoll and SIR in F1…

    11. It’d be awesome to see a Japanese driver in F1 but there’s not much point in putting a guy in the car that’s painfully slow. Makino/Fukuzumi at the moment aren’t good enough and they may still not be good enough next year – they just don’t seem particularly fast. I guess I hope Honda/Toro Rosso/Red Bull promote a Japanese driver that’s actually quick and not just because they happen to be Japanese.

    Comments are closed.