I am not a racist, not by any means, my wife is japanese. Beautiful people. But why why why are Asian drivers never overly successful???. Auto racing in Japan is full on, its a car obsessed nation, malaysia, also keen on motorsport, now plenty of asian’s ( particularly Japanese ) have been given decent opportunities over the years, always falling short….Kobayashi is a hope, Id like to get others opinions, thanks :)
50% of which was in Italy? All that GP2 Asia is is an extended test session in the Gulf States for the Real GP2 season. Plus, only 2 of the drivers (or 1, if you don’t count Russia, of which the important bits are in Europe) were from Asia anyway.
But according to Wikipedia, India has Formula Rolon, Formula LGB Swift, Formula LGB Hyundai & Formula Maruti, then there’s the Pan-Asian Formula BMW Pacific Series, and Formula Nippon in Japan.
In one of the official season review DVDs (could have been 2007 but I’m not sure) Takuma Sato was talking about why its difficult for Japanese drivers to make it into F1 and the major reason seemed to be the very “Euro-centric” nature of the junior formulae. Drivers have to travel halfway across the world and often pay for a drive, so if they have a mediocre season (which could just be down to adjusting to the way things work rather than a lack of skill behind the wheel) the funding dries up and they head back home.
He was full of praise for Formula Nippon and mentioned that it is very competitive and generally produces drivers of high quality.
In the ’90s we had quite a few European drivers who came into F1 via Formula Nippon rather than through F3000 in Europe. Eddie Irvine and Ralf Schumacher are two who immediately spring to mind. I don’t know whether Formula Nippon has dropped back in prestige now as a result of F3000 being replaced by GP2, but we certainly get fewer drivers that way than we did in the past.
What intrigues me more is , why no Italian driver has won the world championship since Ascari in 1953.
That makes me sad every time I think about it. Here football is widely popular, much more than F1 even if we have Ferrari to support, and being a lot of time since an Italian won I think nobody remembers and cares. If an Italian won today I assume many more would watch F1.
Ukyo Katayama was a cracking driver too, but his career understandably stalled when he was diagnosed with cancer.
The eurocentric nature of F1 doesn’t help, there’s quite a culture difference and the language barrier can be difficult to overcome. It is a puzzle though – the Japanese racing scene in particular is very well established and Japanese drivers have done brilliantly in other race categories, it just seems to be F1 where the talent stumbles.