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Yamamoto's Toro Rosso drive confirmed

Yamamoto's Toro Rosso drive confirmed

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Yamamoto's Toro Rosso drive confirmed

Yamamoto's Toro Rosso drive confirmed

Toro Rosso have confirmed that Super Formula champion Naoki Yamamoto will drive for the team in free practice one at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old is a two-time winner of Super Formula, Japan's national open-wheel series, and also added the Super GT title to his collection in 2018, securing the GT500 class crown driving alongside former F1 champion Jenson Button.

Yamamoto took in last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the Toro Rosso garage and has been tentatively linked with the team as a potential candidate for the 2020 race line-up.

The Honda-backed driver is on course for a third Super Formula title this year and will become the first Japanese to take part in an F1 session since Kamui Kobayashi's retirement from the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP, when he takes the controls of Pierre Gasly's car at Suzuka.

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost said: "We are very pleased to have a Japanese driver here in Suzuka driving our STR Honda, and we are sure that Naoki san will enjoy the laps in FP1 on one of the greatest race tracks in the world.

"He is a talented driver, being the reigning champion in Japan’s two most important race series, and he also knows the Suzuka circuit very well.

"Naoki san has spent several European races as part of our team this year, getting to know the engineers he will work with this weekend and he has also spent time in our simulator.

"I am sure that all the fans in the grandstands will enjoy seeing a Japanese driver taking part in the Japanese Grand Prix weekend."

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