Sakon Yamamoto

Yamamoto joins Virgin as reserve driver

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sakon Yamamoto
Sakon Yamamoto

Sakon Yamamoto has joined Virgin as the team’s reserve driver for the first three races of 2011.

The Japanese driver started seven races for HRT last year.

Yamamoto said: ??I am pleased to work with Marussia Virgin Racing in Australia.

“I really appreciate them giving me a chance to be here. The team has made a big step forward this year and I believe that I can contribute to their car development through my experience.

“As everyone is aware it is a very difficult time in Japan right now and any good news is much welcomed. I hope the people back home will feel positive about my latest F1 role as I would like to do everything possible to help them.”

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49 comments on “Yamamoto joins Virgin as reserve driver”

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  1. Will he drive in any practice sessions?

    1. They haven’t said yet.

      1. i like the pic chosen, it looks like he is sneaking!!

        1. They haven’t really signed him, he’s just going to creep into the garage before practice, jump in the car and drive off before anyone notices.

  2. I did not see this coming.

    1. Who did?

      As I wrote in the roundup about this. This will really help the team get forward. A major signing to keep this mega star in F1!

      1. Your sarcasm is noted.

        1. He isn’t the only one… they are tlaking abut fostering and helping young talent in the Autosport article while he is 28 and has no talent for F1.

          The AS article also menitoned he was their for only several races. Maybe it is on a money/race setup

          1. Yes, I had the clean the coffee I spat all over my keyboard after reading the line on young drivers.

            Much in the same way my 80 yr old gran is middle aged.

  3. SVettel (@)
    23rd March 2011, 7:12

    You can tell Virgin Racing is on a budget

    1. And it just got topped up by 10% ;-)

  4. i bet sakon will replace someone this season too!! thanks to him HRT survived the full season last year!!

  5. someone might get food poisoning over virgin racing

  6. Ah Sakon, you give us all such hope. If I ever find a pot of gold I’m going straight to HRT or Virgin and asking for a drive…

  7. “As everyone is aware it is a very difficult time in Japan right now and any good news is much welcomed. I hope the people back home will feel positive about my latest F1 role as I would like to do everything possible to help them.”

    I don’t mean to sound condescending… but I doubt one of the worst Japanese drivers, signing for one of the worst teams on the grid, and not even racing, is going to be welcomed as “positive” news for the people of Japan.

    Anyway… I didn’t see this coming and I think it’s a bit silly from Virgin, they obviously want a bit more cash…

    1. As an F1 Fanatic, living in Japan, I can promise you the Japanese people don’t care one little bit.

      5th biggest earthquake of all time, biggest tsunami in Japanese history, nuclear reactor problems, food shortages, and Sakon Yamamoto buys himself a F1 drive.

      Actually its more likely to annoy people than anything else.

  8. How does this guy keep getting deals? Not that this is such a good one, but I mean even his sponsors must realize by now that he’s not going to be the next world champion.

    1. No, but he does offer them one thing that others don’t: he can get their name an image into the sport.

      1. And he seems to have a lot of talent for it.

        That is, for getting his backers to bring in money to support a team he is connected with.

    2. The thing is, however, he’s never going to run out of sponsorship money no matter how much talent he lacks. Most of his sponsorship comes from his family.

  9. I really appreciate them giving me a chance to be here. The team has made a big step forward this year and I believe that I can contribute to their car development through my experience

    I don’t understand why drivers waste their breath (and press officers waste their time and fingers typing) on this kind of thing any more. I’m sure we can all just take it for read that every driver:

    – is happy to be with a new team
    – thanks them for the opportunity
    – believes they have made a big step forward
    – admits there is more work to do, but
    – will bring their knowledge and experience (and money) to help out all they can

    regardless of:

    – history with other teams
    – the amount of time they’ll actually spend in the car
    – whether the car is actally any good or not
    – where they’ll be in the future

    Well done Sakon, you’ve just paid Virgin Racing x-million dollars to stand in a garage for 3 races wearing a hat and pair of earphones that say ‘Virgin’ on them. And I’m sure, like you say, the people of Japan will find this comforting whilst they’re dodging radiation, etc.

    1. Maybe they’ll get a message on the car now as well?

    2. Well done Sakon, you’ve just paid Virgin Racing x-million dollars to stand in a garage for 3 races wearing a hat and pair of earphones that say ‘Virgin’ on them. And I’m sure, like you say, the people of Japan will find this comforting whilst they’re dodging radiation, etc.

      Well said.

  10. Robert McKay
    23rd March 2011, 9:19

    KA-CHING!

  11. I think that Yamamoto was critcal in HRTs survival last year.

    Put it this way Virgin are not going to fight for the championship. They are not really going to have a massive effect on the championship.
    They are at the bottom end of the pitlane. So if they need money to survive. Then so be it they are doing themselves a favour. So I do not understand why people are so angry. End Of.

    1. Or as Hobbs on SPEED nicknamed him last year, Sacks’o’ Money-oto.

  12. I hope this doesn’t mean that d’Ambrosio is going to get replaced after a few races only…

    1. I doubt that’s the case. Look what Renault let Petrov get away with last year..

  13. Can we get rid of this guy? Please??????

  14. I really think this is what Japan needs to help their country get back into shape.
    Yamamoto in a reserve driver role in Virgin Racing. How exciting is that? I am really look forward to look at him hanging around in the garage in some Virgin branded clothes.

    Seriously though if he really wants to do anything he can to help the people in Japan why not stop paying F1 teams to let you hang out in their motor home and get back and spend some of the money to help people instead.

  15. If I lend Yamamoto my old rust bucket, can he drive it around on Fridays and give me the million dollars instead? I’ll even fill it up with petrol first.

  16. To a degree i can see the sense in Virgin doing this. They’ve taken on a driver with experiance of driving a ‘current’ F1 car as cover for an existing driver.
    If the Bahrain race had take place Timo wouldn’t have been available leaving them with just d’Ambrosio who hasn’t raced. I can’t think of many other alternatives to Yamamoto, may be Grosjean or de la Rosa?

  17. Maybe we should read it like this: By signing Yamamoto we keep his money away from HRT. And if HRT goes bankrupt we get more television money.

    1. The Last Pope
      23rd March 2011, 14:41

      Now I’m expecting an anouncement from HRT that they have signed Yuji Ide as reserve driver.

    2. Inspiringly cynical. Thumbs up to this post.

  18. Say what you will about Yamamoto, but his efforts in the HRT last season weren’t all that terribly off the pace of Senna. And he didn’t write it off.

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