Ayumu Iwasa set to make F1 practice debut in Japan

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Red Bull-backed junior driver Ayumu Iwasa will make his F1 debut at next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, taking over Daniel Ricciardo's car in the opening one-hour session.

Iwasa began racing competitively in 2014, and made his debut in the Japanese F4 Championship three years later. In 2020, he moved over to Europe to race in the French F4 series, and won nine races en route to winning the title.

At the beginning of 2021 Iwasa was officially announced as a Red Bull Junior, and he started competing in the FIA Formula 3 series. His debut year in F3 saw the Japanese driver score a win and another podium finish, and he ended the year in P12 in the championship.

Iwase left the F3 series after just a single season to step up into Formula One's main feeder series, the F2 championship. In his first year, he scored two wins, two pole positions and a fastest lap. Last year, he went on to secure three victories, one pole position and set three fastest laps.

The Osaka-born racer elected to leave Formula 2 and moved back to Japan in 2024 for Super Formula, joining Team Mugen alongside two-time series champion Tomoki Nojiri.

Red Bull have now announced that Iwasa will drive for the team in Japan, taking over Daniel Ricciardo's car in Free Practice 1. It means that the RB team will field an all-Japanese driver line-up in the opening one-hour session.

Commenting on the opportunity, Iwasa said: "I'm so excited to drive F1 car again! and it's my first official session of F1. I'm very looking forward to drive Visa Cash App RB F1 Team car in front of many fans there!"