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Ayumu Iwasa to make F1 practice debut at Japanese GP

by Ida Wood

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Ayumu Iwasa will make his first appearance in a Formula 1 practice session in next month’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

The Honda and Red Bull junior will drive for the latter’s RB team (formerly known as AlphaTauri), taking over Daniel Ricciardo’s car in FP1.

While Iwasa is unfamiliar with the RB VCARB 01 that he will get behind the wheel of, and has only done F1 test previously, he has recent experience of Suzuka as he made his Super Formula debut at the track two weeks ago and finished ninth there.

“I’ll be driving for FP1 of F1 Japanese GP. I’m so excited to drive F1 car again, and it’s my first official session of F1,” Iwasa said in a tweet confirming his RB call-up. “I’m very looking forward to drive RB F1 team car in front of many fans there.”

To do his seat fit, Iwasa had to travel to RB’s headquarters in Italy. He is based full-time in his home country of Japan this year due to his SF programme and also the fact that he has no full-time role at either of Red Bull’s F1 teams.

Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s long-time motorsport advisor, had revealed the plan to run Iwasa at Suzuka in a column for Speedweek.com. There have been reports that Marko is impatient with Ricciardo’s current form – one points finish in the 10 grands prix he has contested since joining RB last summer – and that if it does not improve he could lose his race seat.