Get to Know the Best Asian F1 Drivers
Asian engineering has been known to depict the benchmark of today’s auto industry. Knowing how Asians love cars, it is not really surprising how they also became active in the Formula One Circuit. Not only did brands like Toyota and Honda participated in the Formula One race track but there were also elite Asian drivers who made a name for themselves in the ultra-competitive world of Formula Racing.
To become a Formula 1 driver, not only does it demand years of carting or other user formats, but car teams demand an impressive resume. Over the years, Formula 1 showcased a number of Asian drivers who made it possible to raise the bar of competition on the Formula One race track. Here’s a look back at some of the best.
Masahiro Hasemi became famous in his home town, Japan. The 1970 record of Masahiro Hasemi during the Japanese Grand Prix in 1970 was the fastest for that particular race. Unfortunately, it was a result of an error. It was Laffite who was the fastest man during the Japanese Grand Prix according to the corrected data. Though never known as a legendary F1 driver, he once had massive attention for his performance in the 1970 Japanese Grand Prix. Masahiro Hasemi was able to pull off a celebrity status from obscurity with just one competitive run in the 1970 Japanese Grand Prix.
Though Shinji Nakano’s career was short lived, he managed to race in the Formula One race track jumping from Prost to Minardi in a span of 33 races. After his gig with Minardi, he became the reserve driver for Jordan. When his contract ended, he continued his racing career in the US for the Champ Car Series.
Satoru Nakajima is your Asian driver during the 1980s to 1990s who managed to raise the standards of Asian Formula One racers. Debuting as a 34 year old F1 driver, he may have started late, but he proved that he can still hang around with the elite F1 competitors with his Lotus and Tyrell. Despite his age, he made a great run in F1. Though 16 points is relatively low in today’s F1 scoring system, but if you lived back in the day, this is already a decent score.
Making his debut in 2009, Kamui Kobayashi was able to drive the Sauber with his distinct all or nothing attitude. Later in his career, he displayed maturity by gaining more control when driving his F1 vehicle. This made him a fan favorite.
Probably the most successful Asian Formula One race car driver of all time, he bagged impressive stints from the duration of 1988 to 1995. The peak of his career happened when he managed to take on the third place in his home town during the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix.
Known for his hot headed display during his early days on the track, Takuma Sato’s career can be summarized by three years of being in different teams. He managed to be in Jordan, BAR Honda and Super Aguri. Though he still hasn’t reached his full potential with a competitive Formula One vehicle, he still managed to win a great number of fans with his friendly demeanor outside the track and his aggressive style of driving.