Exclusive - Doornbos & Yamamoto on 2006 14 Nov 2006
Neither Robert Doornbos nor Sakon Yamamoto expected a Formula One race seat this season. But after Doornbos replaced Christian Klien at Red Bull and Yamamoto traded places with Franck Montagny at Super Aguri, both found themselves competing. Although neither scored, Doornbos finished three strong races and Yamamoto, despite retiring from his first four appearances, enjoyed a memorable finish at his home Grand Prix in Japan. Both talk exclusively to Formula1.com
Robert Doornbos, Red Bull
Championship position: 24th (0 points)
Best race result: 12th (x2) Best qualifying: 10th (x1)
I think I can look back at quite a great season, starting 2006 as Red Bull's test driver and finally finishing this year as a race driver! After having raced eight races for Minardi last year, me and my management took the early and wise decision to go testing for Red Bull instead of chasing a race seat for 2006 in a smaller outfit. And it paid off!
Not only have I gained a lot of experience by racking up a lot of test miles, scoring top three results on some Friday sessions and contributed to the teams development programme, I've also enjoyed some really cool PR events. In my home country I raced on the Afsluitdijk, Dutch most famous landmark, and gave a demo for 74,000 people in Zandvoort. Next to this, the 'Rendezvous' event in the centre of Budapest, and wake-boarding with the Asian champ in Malaysia come immediately to my mind. All of them truly remarkable events!
But the most memorable moment was of course when Christian Horner told me that I got the second race seat for the last three races this year. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands and had three strong races. Unfortunately we couldn't score points, but I was still able to out-qualify DC (David Coulthard) in events. Not so bad at all, isn't it? So for next year my focus goes out to F1, only!
Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri
Championship position: 27th (0 points)
Best race result: 16th (x1) Best qualifying: 19th (x1)
This has been a quite challenging season because I decided to join Super Aguri in June and this was a tough decision because I already had a contract to drive in Formula Nippon and GT. But Formula One has always been my target, so I knew that this was a great opportunity and that it was going to be a tough year as the team was new. It was definitely the right decision for me because I became an F1 driver at the German Grand Prix. But it has been frustrating not being able to finish some of the races, but I have always looked forward. I have been constantly trying to make personal improvements and it was great for me to finish my first F1 race in China. The Japanese Grand Prix was a fantastic race and to finish in front of my home crowd is one of the best memories of my career.
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