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Who is Ayumu Iwasa? The Red Bull junior replacing Daniel Ricciardo at F1 Japanese GP

Who is Ayumu Iwasa? The Red Bull junior replacing Daniel Ricciardo at F1 Japanese GP

Who is Ayumu Iwasa? The Red Bull junior replacing Daniel Ricciardo at F1 Japanese GP

Who is Ayumu Iwasa? The Red Bull junior replacing Daniel Ricciardo at F1 Japanese GP

Get to know Ayumu Iwasa, the driver who is set to replace Daniel Ricciardo at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Visa Cash App RB announced an all-Japanese lineup for the 2024 Japanese GP free practice session (FP1) at Suzuka. This opportunity sees 22-year-old Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa stepping into Daniel Ricciardo's car, partnering with fellow countryman Yuki Tsunoda.

READ MORE: Ricciardo set to be replaced at Japanese Grand Prix

Iwasa, a rising star in Super Formula, gets a taste of F1 machinery in front of his home crowd after being given the first of two mandatory rookie FP1 slots for the year. He previously dipped his toes into the F1 world during last year's young driver test in Abu Dhabi with AlphaTauri (now VCARB).

Now, let's delve into the impressive career of the Japanese star.

READ MORE: Verstappen gives Red Bull VIOLENT warning

Ayumu Iwasa is set to replace Daniel Ricciardo in FP1

Early life

Hailing from a family with a history in motorsport, Iwasa was born on September 22, 2001. Both his parents raced Honda Civics in the 1990s, and racing goes back even further in his family with his grandfather's competitive career.

Iwasa's racing journey began in Japan with karting at the tender age of four. After graduating from Osaka International Senior High School, he moved to competitive racing in 2014. That year, he won the Suzuka Karting Championship in both the Yamaha-SS and X-30 classes. Iwasa also competed in the JAF Junior Karting Championship FP during his junior karting career.

Career

After impressing in karting, the Japanese driver transitioned to single seater racing in 2017, competing in the F4 Japanese Championship and the Asian Formula Renault Series. He raced in his first full season in 2019, claiming the overall title in the Suzuka Racing School's Single Seater Series.

In 2020, he was selected as a Honda Formula Dream Project driver. He once again put on an impressive performance, dominating the French F4 Championship and winning the title by a commanding 81 points. This dominant performance earned him a coveted spot on the Red Bull Junior Team in early 2021.

READ MORE: F1 team boss teases SHOCK 'talks' with Verstappen

VCARB will have an entirely Japanese driver lineup during Japanese GP FP1

The next two years were a whirlwind of success for Iwasa. He competed in both the Asian Formula Three and the FIA Formula 3 Championship in 2021, securing his first F3 victory in Hungary. His impressive performance at post-season testing with DAMS in Abu Dhabi then landed him a seat with the French team for the 2022 Formula 2 Championship.

In F2, Iwasa continued to shine. He claimed a couple of victories and podium finishes, and he finished an impressive fifth overall in his debut season. The 2023 campaign saw Iwasa build on that success, adding victories in Saudi Arabia, Monte Carlo, and Australia to his tally. He finished the season a strong fourth in the championship standings.

It was then announced that Iwasa would be joining Japan's premier formula car racing series, the Japanese Super Formula Championship, with Team Mugen in 2024.

Now, with his sights firmly set on F1, Iwasa's upcoming appearance at the Japanese GP practice session with VCARB will be a taste of what's to come for the rising star and a chance for Japanese fans to see him share the track with fellow countryman Yuki Tsunoda.

What they said about Ayumu Iwasa

Speaking about Iwasa, Visa Cash App RB team principal Laurent Mekies said:

"It’s a great pleasure for us to have Ayumu in our car for the upcoming FP1 session in Suzuka. He did a great job in the Abu Dhabi test at the end of last year when he drove for us for the first time.

"Since then, he has been doing a lot a valuable work in our simulator, including providing live race support. This on-track experience will be important for his growth as a young driver, as well as providing him and our engineers with a useful real-track correlation of the work he carries out for us in the simulator.

"It’s definitely going to be a very exciting moment for the team to have an entirely Japanese line-up for FP1 with Yuki (Tsunoda) and Ayumu, both powered by Honda RBPT power units!"

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Newey 'one hour' from forming all-champion F1 line up

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Daniel Ricciardo Yuki Tsunoda Japanese Grand Prix Visa Cash App RB Ayumu Iwasa
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