Yamamoto to replace Chandhok at Hockenheim 16 Jul 2010
HRT race driver Karun Chandhok will be replaced by test driver Sakon Yamamoto at next weekends German Grand Prix, the team revealed on Friday. Yamamoto took the place of Bruno Senna for the Spanish squad at the last round at Silverstone and finished the British event in 20th.
After Sakon Yamamoto gave a very positive performance in Silverstone, the team has decided to give the Japanese driver another opportunity to drive the car alongside Bruno Senna, HRT explained in a statement. Karun Chandhok is still part of the HRT family and is likely to be in the car at some later races this season.
Following his Silverstone outing for the Spanish team, Yamamoto is now a veteran of 15 Grand Prix starts. He has made previous F1 race appearances with Spyker (now Force India) and Super Aguri, after starting his single-seater career back in 2001 in Japanese Formula Three, in which he finished fourth overall in his debut season.
In 2002 he headed to Europe and German Formula Three. After a difficult start to the season with the GM Motorsport team he switched Team Kolles, run by Colin Kolles, who would also later be his boss at Spyker - and, of course, HRT. However, the switch did little to improve Yamamotos fortunes and he moved to the F3 Euroseries the following year. Failing to find success there either, he headed back to Japan for 2004.
On home soil, things began to improve and he finished seventh overall in the Japanese F3 series, with a win at the final round at Motegi. His 2005 Formula Nippon campaign was slightly less fruitful, but by then Yamamoto was also focusing on Formula One. He made his test debut with Jordan at Silverstone in September and went on to appear as the teams third driver at the Japanese Grand Prix.
He began 2006 competing in both Formula Nippon and Japans Super GT series, before getting a Formula One call-up from Super Aguri. He became the fledgling teams third driver from Junes British Grand Prix and impressed enough to be handed a race seat from Julys German round onwards.
His race debut lasted less than two laps thanks to a broken driveshaft and he would retire from the next three races too. He finally scored his first Formula One finish with 16th place in Shanghai, a result he would match at the final round in Brazil. He stayed on as a Super Aguri tester for 2007, after missing out on a race drive, and also competed in GP2 until winning his Spyker deal in late July.
His time at Spyker saw him start seven Grands Prix with a season-best 12th-place finish at his home event at Suzuka. In 2008 he became a test driver for Renault and also competed in both the GP2 and GP2 Asia Series. The following year he moved to the German-based ADAC GT Masters series, before signing as HRTs test driver in April.