Iwasa to make F1 practice debut in Ricciardo’s car at Suzuka

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo will sit out first practice for the next round of the world championship in Japan.

In brief

Ricciardo to miss first practice at Suzuka

Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko revealed Ayumu Iwasa will make his debut in an official Formula 1 practice session at the Japanese Grand Prix next week. “On Friday we will use our young pilot Ayumu Iwasa in practice, an all-Nippon team,” he wrote in his column for SpeedWeek.

The 22-year-old has already raced at the track this year when he made his debut in Japan’s Super Formula championship earlier this month, finishing ninth.

Antonelli rues missed podium

Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli scored the best result of his Formula 2 season to date in the feature race at Albert Park. However he was disappointed to miss a podium finish after starting on the front row of the grid.

He said he had a “pretty difficult race” to fourth. “The first stint was really good, I was able to keep up with the front runners. But after our pit stop we were definitely struggling a lot, didn’t have the pace we had yesterday and it was really difficult to drive the car that was quite unpredictable and looked like we suffered a lot more degradation compared to the others.”

His team mate Oliver Bearman, who missed the second round while making his debut for Ferrari, scored his first points of the season with ninth place.

1964 F1 drivers’ trophy up for sale

John Surtees' 1964 F1 drivers' championship trophy
Surtees’ trophy will be offered at auction
John Surtees’ 1964 world championship trophy will be offered for sale by Bonhams at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting next month. They estimate it will fetch up to £15,000.

Surtees, who died in 2017, won the trophy while driving for Ferrari, taking victories in the German and Italian grands prix and pipping BRM’s Graham Hill by a single point at the final race in Mexico.

Brazil WEC trophy is rubbish

The winners of Brazil’s first World Endurance Championship round for 10 years will receive trophies created from waste collected around Sao Paulo.

The cups have been designed by Brazilian street artist Mundano. The promoters intend to use waste created at the July race to produce next year’s trophies.

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Comment of the day

So far, so good for Haas under their new leadership after their double points score in Australia, but Laz says their real test is yet to come:

There was some luck for Hulkenberg with the VSC, but they certainly have the race pace in the car to be at the head of the midfield. Everyone in the bottom five teams are reliant on cars from the top five teams not making it to the end of the race, or having an absolutely dreadful race. What’s important is to be first in line to inherit those points, yesterday that was Tsunoda and the Haas.

Haas are doing well with what they’ve got, and they’ve made a clear step in how they treat their tyres. What’s important now is showing they can actually develop their car across the course of a season for once. Otherwise they’ll be very dependent on maximising these early races.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Alianora La Canta, Fallon, Henrique Pinheiro, Jake, Jorge H., Lyndell D Wolff and Lyndell D Wolff!

On this day in motorsport

Nigel Mansell, Ferrari, Jacarepagua, 1989
Mansell didn’t expect Ferrari’s new semi-automatic gearbox would last the distance on its debut
  • 35 years ago today Nigel Mansell scored a surprise win in his first race for Ferrari in Brazil. Johnny Herbert also scored points on his debut in F1’s final race at Jacarepagua.

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
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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32 comments on “Iwasa to make F1 practice debut in Ricciardo’s car at Suzuka”

  1. Apparently, we were at a F1 race.

    Sure looked like one early on, with the tyre management that was going on.

    1. some racing fan
      26th March 2024, 2:34

      California Grand Prix?

  2. I fear Ricciardo is entering his last F1 days

    1. some racing fan
      26th March 2024, 2:30

      There was a news article that came out where Helmut Marko said that Ricciardo would be out before Miami and replaced by Liam Lawson if his performance doesn’t improve in Japan and China. Helmut Marko is too old-school for F1 these days. He should be sacked.

      1. Why? An experienced F1 driver should be able to match Tsunoda and he’s nowhere near him.
        The team needs to get the best result possible, and Daniel has not delivered for years now.

      2. Because he intervened too late? They have been more than generous towards Ricciardo, but he needs to go.

      3. Given Marko’s decades long work with young talent, it doesn’t seem like he was the driving force behind the idea to bring a trounced Ricciardo out of retirement. Sounds more like a Horner scheme to leverage the English press’ infatuation with Australians to put pressure on an underperforming Pérez.

        No amount of juvenile jokes can mask the now many, many years of lacklustre performances. And if Ricciardo can no longer credibly threaten Pérez’ place, what use is there for him in the other half of the Red Bull team?

      4. That article was from a New Zealand paper, in which it also said Lawson was first choice for the Red Bull seat. So you may not want to take it too seriously. I’m sure Ricciardo has to improve, and he is on borrowed time. But no one else has reported this.

    2. From an Aussie. I can see no point in persevering with Ricciardo. I’m not sold on Lawson but whoever will replace him should get the chance , NOW . The only obstacle would be financial but he is just on loan bto vcarb, so maybe not even that. If you include sprint races, the replacement would have virtually a full season to show their wares. Maybe even possible to utilise one more under the four driver limit.

      Garage or backyard cricket with the Hulk, Stoinus not Nico, may freshen him up.

      1. I think Lawson will be average AT BEST (he was tied w/Logan in F2 and all the hype was based on one race where he would’ve been 14th or worse if it weren’t for an extremely rare combination of 5 cars that would have finished ahead experiencing mechanical or being punted), but yeah Ricciardo seems done. You can tell if a rookie will be a star within 2-3 races let alone a veteran.

        Ironically, I think he’d be driving like his old self in the RBR. He just loves that Newey front end. It’s one of the biggest driver mysteries ever.

        I mean, the guy:
        -has more wins than Sainz + Leclerc combined
        -crushed & drove Seb from his own team
        -beat Max over 3 seasons together in quali head-to-head, points and would’ve been ahead on wins instead of tied if it weren’t for RBR botching his Monaco stop
        -And he was just super exciting overall.

        Aside from changing to McLaren, was 2021 a revised regs year other than take? Or different tires? First year of 18” wheels?

    3. Hopefully. Still can’t believe they decided to give him a seat this year instead of Lawson.

      1. Lawson did nothing aside from not crash into a wall when drivers in front of him had mechanical DNFs or got punted from behind. He will be competent both nothing more. Meanwhile, besides MV, LH, FA and VB, DR nearly has more wins than the of the grid combined, which includes drivers like Leclerc, Sainz, Russell and Norris. He deserved another shot, especially since he was looking good in Brazil and Mexico City. Meanwhile, oh my god, Lawson might have to wait a few more races! Yuki will wipe the floor with him when he gets here.

        1. but nothing more*

          1. I agree, Yuki will destroy Liam over a full season.

  3. That 1989 Ferrari is beautiful from every angle! Also IIRC, there was a funny story that Mansell was so certain the gearbox would fail, having never even completed half race distance in testing, that he booked an early flight home which he then obviously missed.

    1. If I recall correctly, that was the first time they brought in paddles on the steering wheel to replace the gearstick, which not only meant the gear change itself could be a fraction faster, but also the driver kept his hands on the wheel so the cockpit could be narrower, which fave another small aero advantage. I remember them talking about it saying that even if it saved just a couple of hundredths of a second per gear change, over the course of a lap you can have 50 gear changes so it added up to a hugely significant saving. Once Ferrari had shown it worked, everyone else raced to implement, so a hugely significant development that we still see today. However, one teething problem for Mansell was that first time he used it in practice, he crossed his hands over in a tight corner and couldn’t remember which paddle was shift up and which was shift down.

      1. some racing fan
        26th March 2024, 2:32

        That Ferrari looked even better when John Barnard put an airbox on it for the 4th race that year in Mexico.

        1. I read somewhere that the electronic gearbox controls didn’t work properly until Barnard moved them somewhere else in the car where they wouldn’t overheat. The overhead airbox may have been part of that solution.

          We’ve had some great Ferrari stories already this year, but Mansell winning with that original design was a miracle.

      2. Interesting article here previously DC testing CVT, obviously immediately banned as there was a reg about the number of gears. DC reckoned it was half a second faster because NO gear change just “optimal delivery”.
        If it works its here

  4. Coventry Climax
    26th March 2024, 1:01

    Anyone knows if there’s an FiA or FOM initiative to buy all such memorabilia like the Surtees trophy?
    Such things belong in a museum, not on some excessively rich middle east collector/investor’s shelve in a vault.

    1. Sounds sensible, could even occasionally go as travelling global exhibits as Museum/Art exhibitions do.

  5. Bit sad to see valued commenter Alianora La Canta, only get one Happy Birthday when Lyndell D Wolff gets two!
    What is the world coming to?

    Best to both anyhoo

  6. Teams generally don’t use non-regular drivers for practice running in the early-season flyaway events, so in this regard surprising, but on the other hand, Suzuka is a wholly permanent circuit, has three practice sessions, & is already familiar to Iwasa, this opportunity allows for an all-Japanese lineup for a session, so why not use the first of their 2024 minimum requirement at this point.

    On a somewhat related matter, if Ricciardo really only has two more GPs to improve before getting sacked (rather than 3-5, as I could’ve envisioned), he needs to be quick in that, which is easier said than done.

    Unboxed mostly stopped being a thing after the 2022 season already & likewise for other teams that had done similar videos regularly, such as AMR, Williams, & Ferrari.
    I never realized the factor behind stopping would’ve been something like this, albeit Haas & Visa RB, & Alpine have occasionally uploaded similar videos even after the former teams first limited how often they do before stopping altogether.
    I guess those are within the general frequency limit.

    1. I’ve been trying to figure out why they’ve decided to do this also. The majority of the time the young drivers get a chance much later in the season. Maybe there is multiple reasons for why they’re doing this.
      – One thing is it’s a nice gesture towards Honda for providing them with a power unit that has won so many races.
      – Iwasa knows Suzuka well being native Japanese and having tested and raced there just 2 weeks ago and with that they don’t have to fly Iwasa out, he’s already there.
      – It puts pressure on both Ricciardo and Tsunoda that there are potential replacements coming through with Lawson and Iwasa next in line for a seat.

  7. If Ricciardo really is in the last chance saloon, it is a weird time to be giving his car away to a rookie in free practice. Surely you’d want to give him every opportunity to get the most out of the car, or (more cynically) prevent him from using limited running as an excuse for poor performance.

    1. Do they need an excuse? They’re the ones who brought him out of involuntary retirement in the first place, gave him ample of opportunities to test both virtually and even in the real world, booted out a driver to give him a spot, sidelined another promising young talent to give him another season, etc. If anything, it’s a surprise they’re willing to put with so much. And it’s not line he’s being measured against a Norris or even a Gasly, this is Tsunoda he’s failing to match.

      1. Oh, misread the ‘excuse’ part in the original post. But it works both ways; Ricciardo is way past any excuses given all the opportunities he has been given. He needs to deliver, right now.

    2. This decision was likely made weeks or months in advance, regardless of Ricciardo’s performance, F1 teams usually don’t just come up with these plans suddenly, even if it’s RB/Marko. But it is definitely unfortunate timing for Ricciardo, and this is one of those tracks where you don’t want to miss a practice session if you want to beat your teammate.

      1. I also think that the decision to use Ricciardo’s car for one of the Friday practice sessions, was made a while ago.

        Finally got round to watching Episode 2 of Drive To Survive yesterday. No spoilers, but I will say this – “What a difference a year makes”…

  8. Johnny Herbert scoring points in that race was amazing given what he went through after his F3000 accident at Brands Hatch, nice to see it referenced along-side Mansell’s surprise win!

  9. The winners of the Interlagos WEC race may want to buy John Surtees’ trophy instead.

Comments are closed.