News On Japan

Japanese Drivers in Formula 1 (F1): Stories of Race Tracks, Teams and Drivers

Jun 13 (News On Japan) - Besides technological advancement, motorsport is another niche in Japan gaining impressive traction.

From excellent teams to fantastic race tracks and experienced drivers, Japan is fast becoming a powerhouse in the high-octane world of Formula 1. Here, we walk you through the nation's entry into motorsport and the exploit it has made since then.

A history of Japanese drivers in F1

Hiroshi Fushida is the widely acknowledged father of Japanese motorsport, having qualified for the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix. Although he did not start that year, his first-time qualification motivated compatriots like Noritake Takahara and Masahiro Hasemi to shine in the 1976 Grand Prix hosted by Japan. In fact, Hasemi finished 11th that year, registering Japan on the recognition sheet.

Fast forward to the 1980s, and a certain Satoru Nakajima would make his nation proud by being the first full-time Japanese F1 driver to score points in his second race. Taking a cue from him, Aguri Suzuki etched his name in history by being the first Japanese driver to secure a podium finish. Takuma Sato repeated the feat in 2004, but the current hopes of Japanese Formula 1 lie on the shoulder of Yuki Tsunoda, who has been driving for AlphaTauri since 2021. And, per the 2024 season, Tsunoda isn't doing badly.

Japanese Formula One drivers

Since Hiroshi Fushida cleared the way for the Japanese to find footing in the racing sport, several racers from the Asian country have emerged. Many of these racers are subjects of online betting by sports enthusiasts on 1bet and other gambling platforms in Japan. These websites offer convenience betting and several bonuses with players' phones or laptops.

Kate Richardson, a Formula 1 and sports betting expert at MightyTips, noted that many Japanese players have made fortunes predicting winners of motorsports races. He, however, cautioned players to read reviews of online betting platforms before signing up.

In no particular order, here are some Japanese F1 drivers that have impacted the sport.

Yuki Tsunoda

"I know I'm capable. If I can't have a good result here or if I can't attract the judges' attention, there's no point continuing on with racing. I'm not interested in joining other development programs or pursuing non-formula racing: that's not me."

Yuki Tsunoda made the above remarks in the early days of his career, signifying his all-or-nothing attitude to racing and his dream of competing at the highest level.

The Japanese made his debut at the pinnacle of motorsport with AlphaTauri (now known as RB) in the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. His rapid rise from Japanese F4 to F1 in just three years exemplifies his exceptional talent and determination.

As of the 2024 season, Tsunoda has entered 75 Grands Prix, starting 71 and accumulating 80 career points. To date, Tsunoda has achieved 1 Fastest Lap and finished 4th once as his highest race position.

Hiroshi Fushida

Every endeavor has pioneers who create a pathway for others to follow. For Japanese motorsport, the person who accurately fits this description is Hiroshi Fushida. He was the first Japanese driver to enter an F1 Championship Grand Prix. His F1 career was, however, brief, with entries in the 1975 Dutch and British Grands Prix for Maxi. Unfortunately, he could not participate in either race because of technical issues.

Outside of F1, Fushida succeeded in winning multiple endurance races at Fuji and a notable presence at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After he retired as a driver, he continued to support motorsport as a team executive, including managing Bentley's victory at Le Mans in 2003.

Masahiro Hasemi

The most notable aspect of Masahiro's motorsport exploits is his 1976 participation in the Japanese Grand Prix with Kojima. Interestingly, that was his only F1 race. Although he qualified 10th, he finished 11th, trailing the winner by seven laps. Several online articles and reports say Hasemi has the fastest lap in a Championship, but this has been disproved as false.

Like others, Hasemi also plied his driving endeavor beyond F1. He was an endurance racing hero and an active Japanese Touring Car Championship competitor. In 1980, Masahiro Hasemi became the Japanese Formula 2 Champion, winning several titles in the Fuji Grand Champion Series.

Noritake Takahara

With two participations in the Formula One World Championship, Noritake Takahara is undoubtedly a respected figure in the sport. Alongside Masahiro Hasemi, Noritake debuted in Formula One on October 24, 1976. While this Japanese driver might not have scored any Championship points in F1, his contributions to the sport are notable.

Kazuyoshi Hoshino

Popularly addressed as "the fastest man in Japan," Kazuyoshi had a brief but impactful F1 runout before he retired. He participated in two Formula One Grands Prix, running as high as fourth before his tire supplies ran out. His return in 1977 after his debut in 1976 saw him finishing 11th riding his Kojima-Ford.

Satoru Nakajima

Nakajima earned legendary status in Japanese motorsport by being the first full-time driver. He drove for Lotus and Tyrell for three years, and although he never won a race, he secured 16 career points in his five-season spell. His F1 debut was at the 1987 Brazilian Grand Prix, where he began making an impact by scoring a point in his second race.

Other notable drivers include Kunimitsu Takahashi and Toranosuke Takagi.

Japan's top racing teams

Japan has many top racing teams competing in national and international series. Three of the prominent ones are:

  1. TGR Team au TOM's: This team is a powerful force in the GT Series, especially the GT500 class. It's an elite collaboration between a tunning company known as TOM'S and Toyota Gazoo Racing. The cars fielded by this team had always been competitive and driven by some of the best drivers in the country.
  2. Team Mugen: Founded by Hirotoshi Honda, the son of the Honda founder, this team has made a name for itself in Japan, participating in and achieving numerous victories in the Super Formula Championship. Besides churning out great cars and drivers, Team Mugen also supplies engines to other teams in the series, exemplifying its robust engineering prowess.
  3. R&D Sport: Thanks to its effective race management, R&D has won several podiums and admiration from fans in a way that fewer teams have been able to do in Japan. Known for their GT300 class and Subaru BRZ race cars, this team has learned to max competitions and stay off the grid that holds others.

Japan's best race tracks

With your juice and the company of friends, race tracks in Japan are the ideal places to charge your adrenaline. Here are some leading Japanese race tracks that have come to be fans' delight.

Suzuka Circuit: Popular for hosting the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix and its challenging layout.

Red Bull: This racing team, which goes by the full name Oracle Red Bull Racing, competes in the Formula One World Championship. It has made a significant name in Japan's Suzuka Circuit, especially with Max Verstappen, one of its astute drivers, getting the title twice.

Fuji Speedway: Many international racing events have taken place on this track, which has a picturesque backdrop of Mount Fuji.

Twin Ring Motegi: Most MotoGP events take place on this track, which is unique for its excellent road course and oval.

Sportsland Sugo: More than just a ring track, Sportsland Sugo, which sits on the plain of Miyagi Prefecture, is the largest racing complex in Japan.

Okayama International Circuit: Although this track hasn't hosted international events recently, it's still one of Japan's top venues.


Motorsport in Japan is still evolving, and it's correct to say that the future still holds greater prospects than the past. However, considering the efforts of Yamamoto and Katayama and the incredible technological advancements available, explosive success seems to be on the horizon.

News On Japan

Three people who went missing after a landslide in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, have been found, though their condition is yet to be confirmed.

To address the severe aviation fuel shortage in Japan, a new initiative has been launched as part of an emergency response formulated by the public and private sectors.

Dogo Onsen in Ehime has reopened after five and a half years of renovations. Some people waited as long as eight hours to be the first to take a bath.

A compliance training session for host clubs in Tokyo's Kabukicho district was conducted in response to a series of "urikake" problems, where malicious host clubs saddled customers with exorbitant debts.

A Japanese man detained in Myanmar over the sale price of rice has been charged and will face trial on Friday, July 12.



In a bid-rigging scandal related to the Tokyo Olympics, the Tokyo District Court has sentenced major advertising company Hakuhodo to a 200 million yen fine for violating antitrust laws.

France 2024 Olympics is around the corner, and everybody is excited to witness the same.

On July 6, a ceremonial ring entering was held at Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya's Atsuta Ward ahead of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, which begins on July 14.

A ceremony for the Japanese team participating in the Paris Olympics, which begins on July 26, was held on the 5th at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2 in Tokyo with the attendance of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino. Misaki Emura, the flag bearer and a female saber fencer from Tachihi Holdings, expressed her determination by stating, 'I will carry the awareness and responsibility of representing the nation, and fight with integrity to the very end.'

Joint training exercises were conducted by the police and fire departments in Tochigi Prefecture to prepare for water accidents in rivers, ahead of the summer vacation season and the approaching typhoon season.

オンラインカジノを選ぶ際には、いくつかの重要な点を考慮することが重要です。 以下では、そのポイントについて詳しく解説します。

In a bid to peak the achievement of gamers across the world, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took a vote to create a new Olympic Esports Games.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Arakawa Line, a unique pro wrestling match was held in the confined space of the tram.