Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda would like to bring in a Japanese driver into their team ‘sooner rather than later’, but it is up to those fighting in the junior formulae, particularly in FIA Formula 2, to do enough to warrant the drive and earn themselves the required Superlicence.
Honda has two of its protégé’s in Formula 2 in 2018 in Nirei Fukuzumi and Tadasuke Makino, with the former already a Red Bull athlete, although he has not been made a member of its fabled Junior Team, and it is the former who is closest to earning the Superlicence having brought forward fifteen points from finishing third in the GP3 Series in 2018.
Fukuzumi would require to finish inside the top four in the Formula 2 standings in 2018 to get enough points to allow him to race in Formula 1 and Franz Tost, Toro Rosso’s Team Principal, says it is in his hands to make a charge for the seat.
“Of course, there is the Honda link,” said Tost to Autosport. “And what we want is to have sooner or later a Japanese driver.
“Here, it is in his hands. He must show a good performance and then we will see.”
Honda Motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto echoes Tost’s thoughts and feels it is important for Japan to have a Formula 1 driver once again, and it is up to those in Formula 2 to fight hard enough to earn themselves a Superlicence.
“It is very important for Honda to make Formula 1, and motorsport, more popular once again in Japan,” said Yamamoto to Autosport. “In that sense it’s really important to have an F1 driver.
“The F2 drivers are fighting for the championship, they have to get the Superlicence. For sure, adding a team gives us a better opportunity to put a driver at other teams.”