Japanese Grand Prix – Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly says that the team’s FP1 driver Naoki Yamamoto apologised to him for taking his seat.
Pierre Gasly will sit out the first practice session at Suzuka this weekend. His Toro Rosso STR14 will, instead, be driven by Naoki Yamamoto. The 31 year old Japanese driver currently leads the Super Formula Championship in Japan, and was granted the drive for Toro Rosso on the back of his strong Honda links.
“He actually apologised to me for being in my car,” explained Gasly to Formula1.com.
“But I told him there is no big deal about it. It was already planned since the beginning of the year. I said to him to enjoy and make sure you enjoy every single lap. He’s a really good guy, really fast, really talented. He knows Suzuka more than anyone else I think on the planet.”
The pair were teammates in Super Formula in 2017, and Gasly said he had some advice for Yamamoto ahead of his home race appearance: “It’s a dream to drive these kind of cars. I said to him enjoy every single lap you have out on track. I gave him a few tips because for sure, compared to Super Formula, the tyres are different, the car’s behaviour is different.”
“He’s been in the sim, and there were a couple of things he found really different to the Super Formula. He’s really fast. I think he won more than half his races in Suzuka. He’s really fast here.”
What a sleek design! 😍
— Toro Rosso (@ToroRosso) October 10, 2019
Yamamoto has been well prepared for his FP1 outing, having attended several races this year with Toro Rosso. It seems unlikely that Red Bull are eyeing him up for a potential F1 drive in 2020, especially with their current line-up seeming likely to continue, but the Japanese driver says he’s just taking things as they come for now: “I’m so excited, because driving a Formula 1 car has been my dream since I was young. Finally dreams come true tomorrow!”
“I told Pierre I’m sorry I’m sharing your car and he said don’t worry, it’s not your fault.”
“Hopefully as much as possible [I can] give good information for Pierre. I kind of know what Pierre likes, I think he likes a car with understeer. I’m the opposite! It’s a bit different, our driving style, but I know pretty well his driving style.”