Horner: Yamamoto ‘doesn’t fit criteria’ for F1 seat

Date published: October 11 2019

Naoki Yamamoto

Christian Horner has said that Naoki Yamamoto is not being considered for a race seat at either Red Bull or Toro Rosso in the near future.

The Japanese driver drove a Formula 1 car for the first time ever in FP1 at Suzuka and performed impressively, going less than a tenth slower than Daniil Kvyat in the same car, although he was on the softer, quicker tyre to the Russian.

“He’s done a very good job for his first session in a Formula 1 car,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“I think he acquitted himself extremely well. He’s had a very successful career racing over here and with Jenson [Button] in the GTs.

Yamamoto is the current champion of Japan’s Super Formula and also won the Super GT Championship alongside Jenson Button, who speaks highly of the 31-year old.

Importantly, he now has enough superlicense points to allow him to drive in Formula 1, leading to speculation that he’s being considered for a seat in one of the Honda supplied teams for next season, but the Red Bull team principal says this is not the case.

“It’s a circuit he knows extremely well, he’s had a very successful career racing over here with Jenson in the GTs,” Horner added.

“He doesn’t fit the criteria [for a race seat at Red Bull or Toro Rosso] at the moment, but he’s certainly worth giving a run and having a look at today.”

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