‘Happy’ debutant Iwasa did not adhere to RB’s assignment: ‘That was not really the intention’

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'Happy' debutant Iwasa did not adhere to RB's assignment: 'That was not really the intention'

Ayumu Iwasa had the day of his life on Friday. The Japanese was allowed to take Daniel Ricciardo’s place at Visa Cash App RB (RB) during the first free practice at Suzuka, making his first meters during an official Formula 1 session. The 22-year-old driver from Osaka was very happy with this opportunity afterwards.

Iwasa, who is active in Super Formula this season, took place in front of his own audience in the first practice session in the car of the troubled Ricciardo, who could hardly take action in FP2 on Friday due to the heavy rain. The Japanese eagerly took advantage of the opportunity offered by Red Bull Racing’s sister team and completed the Suzuka Circuit no fewer than 22 times. The 22-year-old would eventually finish his first official F1 session in sixteenth, just under a second behind his temporary teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

It was a unique opportunity for Iwasa and he was very pleased with it afterwards. ‘This was a fantastic session for me. It was a pleasure to drive around Suzuka in an F1 car,” the Japanese driver is quoted by Motorsport.com. ‘I have driven here a lot, but the feeling in an F1 car is very different. I really enjoyed this,” Iwasa beams.

Battle plan

However, RB didn’t just let Iwasa do some laps. The Japanese says that the team had given him a clear goal. ‘The idea was that I would get to know the car and collect important data for the team. But I also continuously improved my own lap time. That wasn’t really the intention,” Iwasa reveals. ‘It was very important that I got to know the car better throughout the session. This was a very valuable experience for me,” says Iwasa, who finally compares RB’s F1 car with his Super Formula car.

“Compared to that car, this is really great,” continues a very happy Iwasa. ‘You can push much harder and the limit is much further. Sector 1 is not very different from that class. That is also why I was able to find the pace so quickly,” Iwasa concludes.

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