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Red Bull and Honda discussing 2020 F1 role for Yamamoto

  • Published on 24 Dec 2019 17:01
  • comments 3
  • By: Coilin Higgins

It is understood that Red Bull and Honda are currently discussing a future F1 role for Japanese driver Naoki Yamamoto.

Two-time Super Formula champion Yamamoto made his Grand Prix debut with Toro Rosso at the Japanese Grand Prix, taking part in the first practice session of the weekend with the team. 

The 31-year-old impressed during the practice session, which was used to allow both Red Bull and Honda to evaluate the driver's ability and performance in a Formula 1 car. 

However, it has not yet been confirmed if such a role would have Yamamoto at both teams, or confined to either Red Bull or Toro Rosso.

"We confirm that we are having conversations about him with Red Bull and Helmut Marko." Honda F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto told Autosport earlier this week.

Yamamoto believed that Naoki would be a good addition to either Red Bull team and spoke of how he thought that establishing such a connection with the team would benefit Honda's young driver programme.

"Of course it is a very good thing for Honda to make a base for future Japanese young drivers," Yamamoto said.

"It's going to give a good influence to current young drivers we have, and other Japanese drivers."

With other Japanese drivers such as F3 race winner Yuki Tsunoda and F2 race winner Nobuharu Matsushita showcasing their talent in the lower categories, Yamomoto believes that they are not yet ready for a switch to F1.

"Of course, the driving skill or speed is needed, but it's not only about that," Yamamoto added.

"If you see Jenson Button, he's quick, but also his personality, the way he reacts to fans and also the media as well, and also the team relationship, dealing with people.

"Those aspects are really important."

Replies (3)

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  • I think he could be a worthwhile addition to ATH. He is a quick, consistent driver who tend to be able to make a lot out of even suboptimal cars. He also seem like a pretty pleasant chap overall. I don't think he is champion material, but I think he should be considered for a seat.

    • + 0
    • Dec 27 2019 - 17:23
    • Kean

      Posts: 692

      2018 had a really good crop of drivers coming out of F2. 2019 not so much which got me wondering about other potential feeder series. Currently I feel that Yamamoto, together with Nick Cassidy, Felix Rosenqvist and Colton Herta are the most deserving of a go in F1.

      • + 0
      • Dec 27 2019 - 21:52
    • Indeed, I'd love to see Naoki and Felix on the grid!

      • + 0
      • Dec 28 2019 - 07:27

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  • Country JP
  • Date of b. Jul 11 1988 (33)
  • Place of b. Utsunomiya, JP
  • Weight 63 kg
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