Sakon Yamamoto


Record updated

Sakon started racing in karts. In 2001 he graduated to Japanese F3. In 2005 he raced in Formula Nippon, winning the title, and Japanese GT. He became third driver at Super Aguri halfway through the 2006 season.

Sakon Yamamoto
Sakon Yamamoto was born in Toyohashi, Japan. He started motor racing with karts in 1994 at the Suzuka Circuit Racing School eventually taking the local class Championship in 1997. He graduated to the National Kart series and won the FA Class title in 1999. After a brief foray on European Karting scene, he graduated to Formula 3, joining the TOM’S team for the 2001 and finishing a fine fourth overall in the series that year. He also made appearances at Brands Hatch, Zandvoort and Macau.

For 2002 he participated in German Formula 3 Championship. However a ninth place at Hockenheim at the end of the season was his best result in the TOM’S Dallara-Toyota.

Despite scoring no points, he entered European Formula 3 in 2003 racing against the likes of Briscoe, Klien, Glock, Rosberg and Doornbos. In another dissapointing season he only had occasional top ten finishes.

Thus in 2004 he decided to returned to Japan to race in the All Japan Formula 3 Championship. He took a win in Round 20 at Motegi but still only managed eighth place in the overall standings.

2005 was a much better year with Yamamoto showing more of his early promiss. Racing in Japan's premiere single seater series, Formula Nippon, he took wins at Sugo, Suzuka and Motegi and along with strong finishes at Fuji and Mine, he took the championship ahead of Yuichi Ide.

He also competed in the Super GT Series taking a Nissan to victory with Richard Lyons at Sepang and sharing the winning Toyota Supra GT at Sugo with Tetsuya Kataoka.

Yamamoto was then drafted into the Jordan team as their third driver for the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix, impressing onlookers with his brief performances in the Friday practice.

Yamamoto continued to race in Formula Nippon until June 2006, when he joined the Super Aguri F1 team as their test driver and third driver on Grand Prix weekends, helping Takuma Sato and Franck Montagny in Friday's free practice sessions. Yamamoto then replaced Montagny in the second team car at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. However he did not enjoy a particularly successful start to his career with a mechanical failure and a stalled engine restricting him to a total of one lap in his first two races. He also damaged one of the team's new SA06 chassis in a crash during Free Practice at the German Grand Prix. He then spun out of his third Grand Prix in Turkey, a disappointment after outqualifying Sato for the first time.

At the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, Yamamoto had a major effect on the championship after suffering a tire delamination during qualifying, which consigned him to last place on the grid. Later on in the session, Fernando Alonso punctured a tyre on debris from this incident, an occurrence which would eventually result in the points leader being penalised for blocking Felipe Massa and dropping from fifth to tenth on the grid. During the race, Yamamoto suffered hydraulic problems and had to start from the pit lane, eventually retiring when it became terminal.

At the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix, however, he finished for the first time, albeit four laps down in sixteenth place. After the race, his enjoyment was spoiled when Nick Heidfeld admonished him for an incident on the last lap which had dropped the German from 4th to 7th place. However, Heidfeld had mistaken Yamamoto for Sato, the driver who caused the incident, and apologised for his mistake before the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix.

After 7 races it looked as if his F1 career has come to an end as he lost out to Anthony Davidson for the second race seat at Super Aguri for 2007, he did however remain as a test driver. He also competed in the 2007 GP2 Series season with BCN Competicion but after the

However following the departure of Christijan Albers in late July 2007, Yamamoto was given another chance at a F1 career with the Spyker F1 Team. He joined the team for the Hungarian GP. In seven races he showed potential, although luck was rarely on his side. Meanwhile he kept his fellow Grand Prix drivers entertained by displaying his skills as a DJ at a few Sunday night parties.