Iwasa to drive FP1 at Suzuka

Iwasa to drive FP1 at Suzuka

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Ayumu Iwasa, a member of the Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP), will drive the RB in the opening session at the forthcoming Japanese Grand Prix.

The above might be seen as one of those ‘fixed it for you’ memes in terms of some of the stuff appearing in the media at present in relation to Daniel Ricciardo.

Honda, which technically supports both Red Bull and RB is taking advantage of its home race to give the youngster his F1 race weekend debut, however sections of the media are using it to suggest that Ricciardo is on borrowed time.

Indeed, some are claiming that Ricciardo has two races in which to up his game or faces being replaced from Miami onwards by Liam Lawson.

While Helmut Marko has indeed fired a shot across the popular Australian’s bow, Red Bull, RB and even the management of both drivers deny the claims.

That said, with Ricciardo known to be an ‘ally’ of Christian Horner, should the saga which thankfully went quiet over the Melbourne weekend, cause further problems, it is entirely possible that the Australian could find himself an innocent victim of any prospective restructuring.

As for Iwasa, he graduated at the top of his class from the Suzuka Circuit Racing School in 2019. After winning the French F4 Championship in 2020, he has steadily progressed, mainly in European racing series, and in 2023 he finished 4th in the F2 Championship, fulfilling the requirements to obtain the Super License necessary to participate in F1.

This season, with a view to moving up to F1, Iwasa is competing in the Japanese Super Formula Championship as a member of both HFDP, the Honda driver development program, and the Red Bull Junior Team.

“I am very happy to be able to participate in an official F1 session in my home country,” said Iwasa, “and I am excited to be able to take the first step toward the realization of my dream – winning races and capture the World Championship title for many consecutive years in F1.

“I would like to thank everyone supporting me in this challenge. In the official session, I will steadily carry out the mission assigned to me and learn as much as I can. I look forward to seeing you all in Suzuka.”

“It’s a great pleasure for us to have Ayumu in our car for the upcoming session,” added Laurent Mekies. “He did a great job in the Abu Dhabi test at the end of last year when he drove for us for the first time. Since then, he has been doing a lot a valuable work in our simulator, including providing live race support.

“This on-track experience will be important for his growth as a young driver, as well as providing him and our engineers with a useful real-track correlation of the work he carries out for us in the simulator. It’s definitely going to be a very exciting moment for the Team to have an entirely Japanese line-up for FP1 with Yuki and Ayumu, both powered by Honda RBPT power units!”

“I am very pleased that everyone will be able to see Iwasa driving an F1 machine at the Japanese Grand Prix, at Honda’s home track,” said Koji Watanabe, President of Honda Racing Corporation (HRC). “I would also like to thank the Visa Cash App RB Formula One Team and Red Bull Group for providing Iwasa with the opportunity to drive in FP1. We hope that he will continue to pursue his dream and inspire young people around the world. We look forward to your continued support for Iwasa.”

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