The Toro Rosso F1 team are set to give seat time to Super Formula and Super GT champion Naoki Yamamoto during FP1 at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.
With Yamamoto's strong association with Toro Rosso engine supplier Honda, coupled with the fact that the brand will be racing at home in Formula One this weekend, the Italian squad have confirmed they will be giving seat time to 31-year-old Naoki Yamamoto as he looks set to make his Grand Prix debut this Friday.
Yamamoto is highly regarded in Japan, having spent much of his senior career racing in the Japanese Super GT series - taking title honours last season alongside former Formula One World Champion Jenson Button in the Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX.
“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" said Toro Rosso Team Principle, Franz Tost.
"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."
Toro Rosso have yet to confirm who will be stepping aside for Yamamoto this weekend, with both Daniil Kvyat and Red Bull refugee Pierre Gasly both doing well in the current driver championship rankings.
Yamamoto will be the first Japanese driver to sample modern Honda power during an official Formula One race weekend, with previous partners McLaren having decided against the now traditional practice of allowing local talent the opportunity to hit the track in front of their home fans.
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