Sakon Yamamoto

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Sakon Yamamoto
Sakon Yamamoto 2010 Motorsport Japan.jpg
Yamamoto at the Motorsport Japan event in 2010.
Born (1982-07-09) 9 July 1982 (age 32)
Toyohashi, Japan
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality  Japanese
Active years 20062007, 2010
Teams Super Aguri, Spyker, HRT
Races 21
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 2006 German Grand Prix
Last race 2010 Korean Grand Prix
Previous series
200708
200607, 2010
2005–06
200506
2003
2002
2001, 2004
2001
GP2 Series
Formula One
Super GT
Formula Nippon
F3 Euroseries
German F3
All-Japan F3
British F3

Sakon Yamamoto (山本 左近 Yamamoto Sakon?, born 9 July 1982 in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture) is a Japanese racing driver. He competed in 21 Formula One Grands Prix during the 2006, 2007 and 2010 seasons.

Before Formula One[edit]

Yamamoto began his racing career in 1994 at the Suzuka Circuit Racing School (Karting), and worked his way up through the ranks, to become the test/third driver for the Jordan Formula One team for one weekend (Japan) during the 2005 Formula One season.

Formula One[edit]

Super Aguri (2006)[edit]

On 8 June 2006, Sakon Yamamoto joined the Super Aguri F1 team as their test driver and third driver on grand prix weekends, helping Takuma Sato and Franck Montagny in Friday's free practice sessions. Yamamoto replaced Montagny in the second team car at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. He did not enjoy a particularly successful start to his career, however, with a mechanical failure and a stalled engine restricting him to a total of one lap in his first two races. He also damaged one of the team's new SA06 chassis in a crash during Free Practice at the German Grand Prix. He then spun out of his third Grand Prix in Turkey, a disappointment after outqualifying Sato for the first time.

Yamamoto driving the Super Aguri SA06 at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix where he set the 7th fastest lap of the race.

At the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, Yamamoto had a major effect on the championship after suffering a tyre delamination during qualifying, which consigned him to last place on the grid. Later on in the session, Fernando Alonso punctured a tyre on debris from this incident, an occurrence which would eventually result in the points leader being penalised for blocking Felipe Massa and dropping from fifth to tenth on the grid. During the race, Yamamoto suffered hydraulic problems and had to start from the pit lane, eventually retiring when it became terminal.

At the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix, however, he finished for the first time, albeit four laps down in sixteenth place. After the race, his enjoyment was spoiled when Nick Heidfeld admonished him for an incident on the last lap which had dropped the German from 4th to 7th place. However, Heidfeld had mistaken Yamamoto for Sato, the driver who caused the incident, and apologised for his mistake before the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix.[1]

Yamamoto finished the season strongly with three consecutive finishes, an upturn in form after retiring from his first four Grands Prix. He also set the seventh fastest lap and second fastest middle sector during the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix. However, this was not enough to prevent him losing out to Anthony Davidson in the race for the second Super Aguri race drive in 2007. However, he remained as a test driver at Super Aguri.[2] This was combined with him competing in the 2007 GP2 Series season with BCN Competicion.[3]

Spyker (2007)[edit]

Yamamoto driving for Spyker F1 at the 2007 Italian Grand Prix

With the departure of Christijan Albers from the Spyker F1 team after the 2007 British Grand Prix, a position on the grid became available. On 26 July 2007, after Markus Winkelhock filled the seat at the eventful 2007 European Grand Prix, Spyker confirmed that they hired Yamamoto from Super Aguri for the remainder of the 2007 Formula One season by Spyker.[4] During his first Grand Prix for Spyker at Hungary, he crashed out on lap 4. After that, he finished all the races in last position, except the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, where he finished ahead of Jarno Trulli, and in the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix where Giancarlo Fisichella crashed into him on the first laps. After the season ended, Yamamoto did not participate in any other event for the team.

Renault (2008)[edit]

It was announced on 4 February 2008 that Yamamoto would be one of the test drivers for the Renault F1 Team.[5] According to the press release, he would only drive the car in public demonstrations and not in circuit tests, with Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean being announced as circuit test drivers at the launch of the Renault R28. Sanho Human Service sponsored Spyker F1 when Yamamoto was a driver, and it was announced at the R28 launch that Sanho Human Service would sponsor Renault in 2008.

Return to GP2 (2008–2009)[edit]

Yamamoto made his return to the GP2 series halfway through the 2008 season, as the ART Grand Prix team elected to employ him in place of the underperforming Luca Filippi.[6] Finishing 4th in the sprint race at Hungaroring, he scored his first ever points in any racing class outside Japan.

Yamamoto kept his seat at ART for the 2008–09 GP2 Asia Series where he was looking to emulate the success of Grosjean, who won the inaugural championship with the team. However, he was somewhat overshadowed by team-mates Nico Hülkenberg and Pastor Maldonado, but managed to finish 9th in the championship, with a podium at the opening race in Shanghai.

HRT (2010)[edit]

Yamamoto driving for Hispania Racing at the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix

On 17 April 2010 the Hispania Racing team announced that Yamamoto would become the test and reserve driver for the team, and that he would drive the car in free practice sessions over the course of the 2010 season, helping Hispania develop their car.[7] He took part in his first practice session for the team at the Turkish Grand Prix where he set the slowest lap time of the session. On 8 July 2010 HRT team principal Colin Kolles announced that Yamamoto was to replace Bruno Senna for the British Grand Prix,[8] where he qualified 24th and last, he went on to finish 20th and last, just behind his team-mate Karun Chandhok. Yamamoto replaced Chandhok at the German Grand Prix,[9] where he retired after 19 laps with an engine problem. He kept this seat for the Hungarian Grand Prix,[10] in which he was lapped by his team-mate Senna. At the Italian Grand Prix, Yamamoto accelerated from the pits as a mechanic was fixing the radio connection to his helmet. His rear wing struck the mechanic resulting in him being taken to hospital where he stayed for 10 days before being discharged and returning home to Germany.[11] He was replaced at the Singapore Grand Prix by test driver Christian Klien after reportedly suffering food poisoning. He returned at the following race in Japan, finishing in 16th place, albeit last of the 16 cars to make the flag. He bettered this result by coming 15th in Korea, but was again replaced by Klien for the final two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.[12][13]

Virgin (2011)[edit]

On 23 March 2011, Marussia Virgin Racing announced that Yamamoto would be the team's reserve driver for the first three races of the 2011 season.[14]

Racing record[edit]

Career summary[edit]

Season Series Team Name Races Poles Wins Points Final Placing
2001 All-Japan Formula 3 TOM'S 18 0 0 117 4th
2001 British Formula 3 Team Avanti 4 0 0 0 24th
2002 German Formula 3
2003 Formula 3 Euroseries 20 0 0 0 27th
2004 All-Japan Formula 3 20 1 131 8th
2005 Super GT GT500 Kondo Racing 8 0 1 43 7th
2005 Formula Nippon Kondo Racing 18 0 0 9 10th
2005 Formula One Jordan Grand Prix Test driver
2006 Formula One Super Aguri F1 Team 7 0 0 0 26th
2006 Super GT GT500 Nismo 3 0 0 15 21st
2006 Formula Nippon Kondo Racing 3 0 0 3.5 11th
2007 Formula One Etihad Aldar Spyker F1 Team 7 0 0 0 24th
2007 GP2 Series BCN Competición 11 0 0 0 30th
2008 GP2 Series ART Grand Prix 10 0 0 3 23rd
2008 Formula One ING Renault F1 Team Test driver
2008–09 GP2 Asia Series ART Grand Prix 11 0 0 13 9th
2010 Formula One Hispania Racing F1 Team 7 0 0 0 26th
2011 Formula One Marussia Virgin Racing Test driver

Complete Formula Nippon results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 DC Points
2005 Kondo Racing MOT
14
SUZ
Ret
SUG
Ret
FUJ
Ret
SUZ
4
MIN
8
FUJ
Ret
MOT
2
SUZ
11
10th 9
2006 Kondo Racing FUJ
6
SUZ
4
MOT
14
SUZ
AUT
FUJ
SUG
MOT
SUZ
11th 3.5

‡ Race stopped earlier due to heavy rain. Only half-points were awarded.

Complete Super GT results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 DC Pts
2005 Toyota Team TOM'S Toyota Supra GT500 OKA
6
FUJ
6
SEP
13
SUG
1
MOT
8
FUJ
7
AUT
Ret
SUZ
7
7th 43
2006 NISMO Nissan Fairlady Z GT500 SUZ
12
OKA
3
FUJ
9
SEP
SUG
SUZ
MOT
AUT
FUJ
21st 15

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 WDC Points
2005 Jordan Grand Prix Jordan EJ15B Toyota RVX-05 3.0 V10 AUS
MAL
BHR
SMR
ESP
MON
EUR
CAN
USA
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
TUR
ITA
BEL
BRA
JPN
TD
CHN
 –  –
2006 Super Aguri F1 Team Super Aguri SA05 Honda RA806E 2.4 V8 BHR
MAL
AUS
SMR
EUR
ESP
MON
GBR
TD
CAN
TD
USA
TD
FRA
TD
26th 0
Super Aguri SA06 GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
TUR
Ret
ITA
Ret
CHN
16
JPN
17
BRA
16
2007 Etihad Aldar Spyker F1 Team Spyker F8-VII Ferrari 056H 2.4 V8 AUS
MAL
BHR
ESP
MON
CAN
USA
FRA
GBR
EUR
HUN
Ret
TUR
20
24th 0
Spyker F8-VIIB ITA
20
BEL
17
JPN
12
CHN
17
BRA
Ret
2010 Hispania Racing F1 Team Hispania F110 Cosworth CA2010 2.4 V8 BHR
AUS
MAL
CHN
ESP
MON
TUR
TD
CAN
EUR
GBR
20
GER
Ret
HUN
19
BEL
20
ITA
19
SIN
JPN
16
KOR
15
BRA
ABU
26th 0

Complete GP2 Series results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 DC Points
2007 BCN Competición BHR
FEA

11
BHR
SPR

14
ESP
FEA

9
ESP
SPR

18
MON
FEA

Ret
FRA
FEA

11
FRA
SPR

13
GBR
FEA

16
GBR
SPR

Ret
EUR
FEA

13
EUR
SPR

11
HUN
FEA
HUN
SPR
TUR
FEA
TUR
SPR
ITA
FEA
ITA
SPR
BEL
FEA
BEL
SPR
VAL
FEA
VAL
SPR
30th 0
2008 ART Grand Prix ESP
FEA
ESP
SPR
TUR
FEA
TUR
SPR
MON
FEA
MON
SPR
FRA
FEA
FRA
SPR
GBR
FEA
GBR
SPR
GER
FEA

12
GER
SPR

NC
HUN
FEA

10
HUN
SPR

4
EUR
FEA

Ret
EUR
SPR

Ret
BEL
FEA

18
BEL
SPR

Ret
ITA
FEA

Ret
ITA
SPR

Ret
23rd 3

Complete GP2 Asia Series results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 DC Points
2008–09 ART Grand Prix CHN
FEA

3
CHN
SPR

14
UAE
FEA

8
UAE
SPR

C
BHR
FEA

17
BHR
SPR

11
QAT
FEA

Ret
QAT
SPR

14
MAL
FEA

12
MAL
SPR

Ret
BHR
FEA

6
BHR
SPR

4
9th 13

References[edit]

  1. ^ ITV.com article, retrieved 7 October 2006
  2. ^ "Super Aguri names Sakon Yamamoto as second test driver". Grandprix.com. 2006-12-27. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  3. ^ "Yamamoto for BCN". Grandprix.com. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  4. ^ "Spyker confirm Yamamoto deal". Autosport.com. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  5. ^ "Yamamoto given Renault test drive". BBC.co.uk. 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  6. ^ "ART replace Filippi with Yamamoto". autosport.com. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  7. ^ "Yamamoto gets Hispania test deal". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 2010-04-17. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
  8. ^ "Yamamoto to replace Senna in Britain". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  9. ^ McKenzie, Lee; Benson, Andrew (16 July 2010). "Hispania drop Karun Chandhok for German Grand Prix". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (2010-07-27). "Yamamoto keeps HRT seat for Hungary". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  11. ^ "Injured Hispania engineer to leave hospital soon". BBC Sport (BBC). 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  12. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (4 November 2010). "Klien replaces Yamamoto for Brazil". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Beer, Matt (10 November 2010). "Klien retains Hispania seat for Abu Dhabi". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  14. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (23 March 2011). "Yamamoto joins Virgin as reserve". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 23 March 2011. 

External links[edit]