Tag Archives: Sakon Yamamoto

Klien to replace Yamamoto for Brazil

The Hispania Racing Team have said that Christian Klien will be replacing Sakon Yamamoto for the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.

This is the second race weekend this year that this will be happening, the other being in Singapore, when the team claimed Yamamoto was “unwell”, even though he could be observed strolling through the paddock all weekend.

Christian last raced at Interlagos in 2005, but seems to be confident that he can keep up with Bruno Senna this weekend:

"I am excited to come to Brazil where I already raced two
times, the last time in 2005, and where I could achieve
good results. The circuit is quite challenging and we are
racing anti-clockwise which is going to be tough for the neck.

There are many slow corners and the long straight at the
start-finish-line where high speeds are possible.

I am very happy to get a second opportunity to do another Grand
Prix here after Singapore and I hope that we are doing a good
weekend with positive results.


Klien to replace Yamamoto for Singapore GP

It has been announced today that Christian Klien will replace Sakon Yamamoto for the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. It appears as if Yamamoto is suffering from food poisoning, although there will be questions raised as to why Karun Chandhok was not put back in the race seat.

Team Principal Colin Kolles said:

"It looks as if Sakon Yamamoto has a food poisoning, and he 
doesn’t feel well. Because of this, Christian Klien will be 
driving the car this Friday and the rest of the Singapore 
Grand Prix. I hope Sakon gets well soon and is able to drive 
at his home Grand Prix in Japan."

Klien has previously driven for Hispania in practice sessions at the Spanish and European Grands Prix, but has not been competing in any races so far this year.

This isn’t bad news, seeing as Yamamoto is gone for one race, but it’s very disappointing to see the team continue to snub Karun Chandhok, who Bernie Ecclestone said last week needed a better car to prove his talent. Unfortunately, after this, I can’t see him driving at any time this year.

Yamamoto’s mechanic hospitalised after pit lane incident

As you may have heard, during the Italian Grand Prix today, one of Sakon Yamamoto’s mechanics was run over in the pit lane in the middle of a pit stop. He has been hospitalised, currently in the Medical Centre, but the Hispania team have confirmed that he is conscious and should be OK.

While I earlier claimed that Sakon drove straight away from the pit box, based on info from the BBC, an amateur video has shown that it was in fact the lollipop man who released the car too early, causing the incident. Hispania have also been fined $20,000 for an unsafe release.

The video below shows the incident, but viewer discretion is advised:

Yamamoto to remain at Hispania for rest of year

Sakon Yamamoto has claimed that he will remain driving for the Hispania team until the rest of the season – and he can’t guarantee which seat he’ll be taking. At the moment, Karun Chandhok is out of a drive thanks to Yamamoto, and for the while it looks as if Bruno Senna isn’t safe either.

In an (translated) interview with Formule1.nl, he said:

 "I will make the season anyway. Or I will replace Bruno and 
Karun, I do not know. But it is certain that I will run 
all races. "

So, with the Hispania team’s decision of money over results (and the apparent snub of other test driver Christian Klien), the focus will probably move to Karun Chandhok finding a drive for next season. For the moment, he is keeping himself busy with commentating on Radio 5 Live (and he’s pretty good at it), but the problem is that there are very few seats for 2011. Karun will have to get a move on if he is to be racing next year.

Yamamoto remains in Chandhok’s seat for Belgium

Sakon Yamamoto will continue to replace Karun Chandhok at Spa

Sakon Yamamoto will continue to replace Karun Chandhok at Spa

It has emerged today that Sakon Yamamoto will continue to take Karun Chandhok’s seat at the Hispania team for the Belgium Grand Prix, as the team tries to stay afloat on the Japanese driver’s sponsors. While there was initial hope that Karun could return after the summer break, today’s statement by the team has quashed those rumours.

Since Silverstone, Yamamoto has been occupying the race seats of Chandhok and once Senna. With this news, it is clear that Yamamoto will probably be racing at the very back for most of the rest of this season.

While I’m on about Yamamoto, I found an interesting stat on him: He has never scored a pole position in his entire motorsport career. Also, the last time he won a race was back in 2005, in the Super GT (Japanese Touring Car) championship, and he has only won one other race in his life.

Chandhok: Hispania to rotate drivers

HRT driver Karun Chandhok has said that he respects the decision of the team to replace him with Sakon Yamamoto for the German Grand Prix, and went on to say that the Hispania team will continue to rotate its drivers for the rest of the season.

After Bruno Senna was relieved of his race seat for the British Grand Prix, rumours began to circulate about a dispute between him and Colin Kolles. However, since then, it has emerged that the team needs sponsorship money, which has since resulted in Chandhok pushed aside for Yamamoto for next week’s German GP.

Both Chandhok and Senna will be forced to rotate their driver seats with Yamamoto and Klien

Both Chandhok and Senna will be forced to rotate their driver seats with Yamamoto and Klien

It has been revealed that Yamamoto will appear more times across the year, with other test driver Christian Klien also making an appearance somewhere down the line. Karun, however, was not downbeat, saying:

“The team have taken the decision that they’re going to rotate 
drivers between the four of us that are on contracts with the 

At the end of the day we’re not fighting for the World 
Championship or for points and, with the current testing 
regulations, it’s quite difficult for them to evaluate 
drivers during a season. 

All four of us are Superlicence drivers, so we can’t do the 
young driver days at the end of the season, and we also 
missed the pre-season testing. 

It’s a team decision and I’ve got to respect that.”

The problem is that neither Senna or Chandhok had any idea this would happen at the start of the season. It’s very unfair on them, as they have been forced to deal with a dog of a car without any testing. While Klien and Yamamoto both have personal sponsors to bring money to the team, it will cost them a huge amount of time in the development race.

Just look at Minardi for inspiration as to how to run a small F1 team. They resisted using pay drivers, produced a future world champion (Alonso), and were famous for years of fighting away at the back. HRT is as far away as they could get, as they rotate drivers just to stay afloat.

If HRT continue to use pay drivers into next season, I’m afraid to say that they will never get away from the back of the field.

Yamamoto to replace Chandhok for German GP

After the mess of Bruno Senna being replaced for the British Grand Prix weekend, it has now emerged that team-mate Karun Chandhok will be replaced by Sakon Yamamoto for the German Grand Prix. In their statement, HRT also implied that Chandhok may make way for Yamamoto several times more during the season.

Sakon Yamamoto will replace Karun Chandhok at the German Grand Prix

Sakon Yamamoto will replace Karun Chandhok at the German Grand Prix

After Bruno Senna’s seat being handed to Yamamoto in Silverstone for “disciplinary reasons”, as well as the financial benefits of Yamamoto, Karun’s replacement is certainly about the money and not the driver. However, the HRT team still tried to claim that Yamamoto was there because of more than money:

"After Sakon Yamamoto gave a very positive performance in 
Silverstone [sic], the team has decided to give the Japanese 
driver another opportunity to drive the car alongside Bruno 
Senna. Karun Chandhok is still part of the Hispania Racing, 
HRT F1 Team family and is likely to be in the car at some 
later races this season."

Where do we start? Yamamoto was last in qualifying, and was in last place in the race in Silverstone. Although Karun Chandhok was only 1 place ahead of Sakon, he had sustained bodywork damage at the start of the race.

Despite this, Sakon’s sponsorship was enough to convince Colin Kolles to replace Chandhok for the German GP. However, if you look at the team statement above, you can see that the team states: “Karun Chandhok … is likely to be in the car at some later races this season.” This heavily implies that Yamamoto will be taking more races out of Chandhok’s hands, purely so that HRT can survive on the extra sponsorship money.

In my opinion, this is a disaster. Even if HRT are gaining money from this, they are losing whatever fans they had, by juggling their drivers just to stay alive. I’m not annoyed at Yamamoto, it’s Kolles who is at fault here, as it is completely unfair to the drivers. They turned up in Bahrain to get into a car that hadn’t turned a wheel, struggled at the back for 4 months, then have their faith rewarded by being replaced by a worse driver with more money. Then, after one race, they find out that they will be replaced more times just for the team to stay afloat. This is an absolute joke.

Update: The BBC are reporting that Christian Klien is being considered to take part in a (or several) Grand Prix this year, at the expense of either Chandhok or Senna of course. Just brilliant.

Senna-Kolles dispute was behind Yamamoto drive

It has emerged today that the reason Bruno Senna was replaced this weekend by Sakon Yamamoto was because of a dispute between Senna and team principal Colin Kolles. While this switch is only for the British Grand Prix, it was revealed today that it was because for “disciplinary reasons”, as well as the HRT team needing extra funds, which Yamamoto can supply.

Sakon Yamamoto has his sponsors to thank for his drive in the British GP

Sakon Yamamoto has his sponsors to thank for his drive in the British GP

While most news sources are still uncertain over the cause of Senna’s replacement, an argument with Colin Kolles is now appearing as the cause. Bruno Senna has yet to talk to the media or fans this weekend about this issue.

Sakon Yamamoto is sponsored by Japanese companies Sanho and Zoff, and is also supported by Arai Helmets and K-Point. Meanwhile, Bruno Senna’s only sponsors are the ones that are linked to the HRT team. If you go onto Bruno’s website (currently under construction), there is a large box linking to his email saying “Sponsor me”, which says it all. While Senna has been the fastest of the HRT drivers this year, unfortunately the team needs money, and Yamamoto’s once-off drive can bring this.

However, to do this, the team would have had to find a reason to replace one of their drivers. The dispute between Senna and Kolles was believed to have been about sponsorships and HRT’s drivers for next season.

Strangely enough, the exact same situation occurred to Ayrton Senna. In 1984, Ayrton’s first year in Formula 1, he was involved in a dispute with his Toleman team. When he signed for Lotus for the 1985 season without telling his team, he was suspended for one race. History has an odd way of repeating itself.

Yamamoto to replace Senna for British GP weekend

There is confusion in the paddock this weekend, as it appears that Sakon Yamamoto will replace Bruno Senna for the entire weekend of the British Grand Prix. The initial reports were saying this switch was only for Friday, but it now seems that Yamamoto will be driving for HRT all weekend.

Test driver Sakon Yamamoto will replace Bruno Senna for the British GP weekend

Test driver Sakon Yamamoto will replace Bruno Senna for the British GP weekend

Colin Kolles confirmed this switch today, although he refused to be officially quoted ahead of the team announcement tomorrow. He said that the full report will be out shortly, most likely Friday morning. This will be the first time that Yamamoto has driven in an F1 race since the end of the 2007 season.

It is believed that HRT made this decision because they are running short of money, and Yamamoto is very wealthy and has more sponsors than Senna. His signing as a HRT test driver this year appeared to be purely for money, and not for driving skill.

If this is the case, this is disgraceful. Running Yamamoto in practice sessions is fine, where it can get the team some extra money, but this is awful for Senna, who apparently didn’t even hear of the announcement. I realise that HRT need money, but moves like this will do them no favours with the fans, and their pace cannot improve with drivers like Yamamoto instead of Senna.

Update: HRT have confirmed that this change is only for the British GP weekend, and it is a combination of financial and disciplinary matters.