Yuji Ide is a Japanese racing driver who graduated from 2005 Formula Nippon to Formula One with the Super Aguri F1 team in 2006 but lost his FIA Super Licence during the season due to erratic driving. He then returned to the Formula Nippon series.
Yuji Ide was born in Saitama, Japan. He started racing in 1990 in karts. In 1991, he won the Kantou National Cup Kart Championship. In 1992 he was second in the Regional Kart Championship East Kantou series A1 Class and also won the Japan Kart Grand Prix SS stock class National GP. The following year he joined the All Japan Kart Championship Series Formula A Class.
In 1994 he graduated to single-seaters in the Japanese F3 Championship where he spend the next seven seasons.
As well as Japanese F3, in 1999 he came second in the All Japan GT Championship GT300 Class Series and was also the Formula Dream series champion in Japan that year. In 2000 he finished runner-up in the Japanese F3 Championship.
In 2002 Ide joined the French Formula 3 series, finishing in seventh place.
The following year, 2003, he joined the All Japan Championship Formula Nippon Series and also finished seventh. In 2004, he claimed third spot before going on to win the Super Endurance Race Class 3 Series. He finished his first stint in Formula Nippon finishing second in the 2005 championship.
At 31, Ide became one of Formula One's older rookies when he landed a seat at Super Aguri for the 2006 season, in part due to Super Aguri's aspiration of fielding an all-Japanese team. Ide had known Aguri Suzuki for a long time, according to a press release, however Ide's meshing with the team had some issues with his lack of proficient English.
In his debut race in Bahrain, Ide was not that far behind his teammate Takuma Sato but failed to finish. At the next race in Malaysia, he retired after 33 laps.
The third race of the 2006 season went poorly for Ide: He was blamed for blocking Rubens Barrichello during his qualifying lap, causing the Brazilian to be stuck in the first round of qualifying and start 16th on the grid. Ide finished in Australia, two laps down. His weekend in Melbourne was notable for a number of spins, and team principal Aguri Suzuki subsequently suggested Ide's seat was not safe if his performances did not improve.
At Imola, Ide caused a first lap crash with Christijan Albers that put the Dutchman into a series of rolls which ended with Albers' car upside down. Ide was reprimanded by the stewards and warned over future conduct. Many accepted that this was not entirely his fault, as the rushed Aguri project had not allowed him much time in the car pre-season.
On May 4, 2006, Super Aguri announced that following advice from the FIA, Ide would be dropped from the upcoming European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, being replaced by former Renault test driver Franck Montagny. Ide was demoted to Montagny's seat as test driver.
On May 10, 2006, the FIA revoked Ide's FIA Super Licence meaning he could no longer compete in F1 during the 2006 season. Super Aguri remain committed to getting Ide back into F1.