November 28, 2021

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Honda set for 2022 Super Formula driver reshuffle

Defending champion Tomoki Nojiri will virtually certainly continue to be aboard Mugen’s #16 auto for his title defence pursuing a breakthrough 2021 time, but it appears Hiroki Otsu will not be remaining together with him in the Purple Bull-liveried #15 car or truck.

There had been doubts as to regardless of whether the power drink big would continue to assist the #15 car owing to Japan’s ongoing travel restrictions, which are very likely to preclude a member of the Pink Bull Junior team from becoming element of the Mugen line-up for a third consecutive year.

Even so, with the #15 vehicle now hunting odds on to go on, the favorite to choose around the spot is present-day Nakajima Racing driver Toshiki Oyu, who drives for Mugen in Super GT.

Otsu in the meantime appears to be like to be heading in the reverse path to be a part of 3-time champion Naoki Yamamoto at Nakajima Racing, where by he made his debut in final year’s Fuji Speedway season finale as a just one-off replacement for an unwell Tadasuke Makino.

The most significant shock however is that Dandelion driver Nirei Fukuzumi is established to transfer on to new pastures, opening up a prized seat at the 2020 title-winning crew together with Makino.

 

That is because Fukuzumi is rumoured to make a shock transfer to the a person-vehicle Drago Corse secure, which has failed to score factors in the previous two seasons with Tatiana Calderon and the Colombian’s occasional substitute Koudai Tsukakoshi.

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The strongest candidate to exchange Fukuzumi appears to be Ukyo Sasahara, who stood in for Makino at Dandelion for the opening two rounds of 2021, but it is not extremely hard the seat could go to Oyu if the Mugen tie-up doesn’t happen.

Nobuharu Matsushita in the meantime is possible stay with B-Max Racing for 2022 as element of a likely two-car or truck line-up.

Obtaining operate only just one auto in 2021, the staff could revert to jogging two automobiles future yr if it finds a driver with ample price range – and is considered to be planning to operate each of its automobiles in the rookie test at Suzuka on December 7-9.

Toyota programs hinge on Nakajima, Hirakawa likely to keep

What occurs in the Toyota secure in 2022 most possible is dependent on regardless of whether Kazuki Nakajima returns for a 12th period with the TOM’S squad.

The two-time Super Method champion was only ready to contest two races this 12 months simply because of Japan’s journey limits and his Toyota FIA Planet Stamina Championship commitments, but previously this month it was confirmed he will stand down from his WEC generate in 2022, with Ryo Hirakawa established to exchange him.

Nakajima stated it was “the plan” for him to keep on racing in Super Formula along with a new off-observe Toyota WEC part, but insisted nothing had been resolved and failed to rule out bringing his top rated-line job to a near.

 

Need to the 36-yr-old remain on for an additional time, it is most likely to indicate little transform in the Toyota roster, with 2021 rookie Ritomo Miyata established to stay at TOM’S for a second full campaign in any situation.

Nevertheless, if Nakajima stands down, it would open the door for present Kondo Racing gentleman Sacha Fenestraz to acquire his spot, with Giuliano Alesi then potentially stepping up to fill the breach at Kondo.

Alesi presently contested 5 Super Formula situations this yr in area of Nakajima at TOM’S, profitable at Autopolis, but admitted to Motorsport.com that his failure to land the Tremendous System Lights title past month suggests he may have to remain in the lessen category for a next yr.

With Hirakawa established to dovetail his Toyota WEC push with another period of Super Formula for Impul, and Kamui Kobayashi on the lookout most likely to do the exact around at KCMG, other chances for Alesi to graduate from Super System Lights appear slender if Nakajima does return to TOM’S complete-time.

Toyota is set to be the 1st maker to formally expose its 2022 designs in early December, but the entry listing for the rookie examination will give tacit affirmation of most teams’ line-ups on each sides of the motor divide.