Honda president Watanabe impressed by Iwasa: ‘Good candidate for F1 seat’

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Honda president Watanabe impressed by Iwasa: 'Good candidate for F1 seat'

During the first free practice session at the Suzuka circuit, Super Formula driver Ayumu Iwasa took place in Daniel Ricciardo’s VCARB car. The first free practice was the first official F1 session that the Japanese drove. The 22-year-old driver showed his good side and impressed not only Helmut Marko, but also Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) president Koji Watanabe.

Iwasa graduated from the Honda Racing School in Suzuka, just like VCARB rider Yuki Tsunoda. No wonder Watanabe took notice of Iwasa’s achievements. The HRC president tells Motorsport.com that he would like to see Iwasa offered an F1 seat soon. “Behind Yuki, he is now our hope.”

Honda wants to sponsor Iwasa

Iwasa managed to stand out on several points, according to Watanabe. ‘I listened to his radio during the first training and was very impressed. He is very precise and also has a good sense of timing to explain what is going on with the car at any time.”

The speed that Iwasa managed to achieve in the VCARB car should also not be overlooked. ‘He built the session. His first three laps were still quite slow and nervous, but after that he continuously improved. I think he is a good candidate for a Formula 1 seat in the future.’ If that happens, Iwasa can certainly contact Honda for a possible sponsorship deal, Watanabe says. VCARB teammate Tsunoda is also sponsored by the Japanese car giant.

Musical chairs at Red Bull teams

There is certainly a good chance of a game of musical chairs between the two Red Bull teams. At Red Bull Racing, Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez, is not yet assured of a seat in the 2025 season. His contract runs until the end of this season. Nothing is known about the upcoming season at daughter team VCARB. Neither Tsunoda nor Ricciardo, about whom there has been a lot of fuss lately, are assured of a seat with the team in 2025. Meanwhile, Red Bull Junior driver Liam Lawson is also eyeing a seat with the team.

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