2017 Japanese Super Formula Championship season preview
The 2017 Japanese Super Formula Championship, in the fifth year under the current name and for the 31st time as the premier open-wheel competition in Japan, will kick off on April 23 with a season-opening race at Suzuka Circuit.
The 2017 season features seven events at six venues, as Suzuka will also host the season’s finale in October. Between two events at the Japanese Grand Prix circuit, nineteen Super Formula drivers will visit Okayama International Circuit, Fuji Speedway, Twin Ring Motegi, Autopolis and Sportsland Sugo.
2017 Super Formula calendar
|1||April 23||Suzuka Circuit|
|2||May 28||Okayama International Circuit|
|3||July 19||Fuji Speedway|
|4||August 20||Twin Ring Motegi|
|6||September 24||Sportsland Sugo|
|7||October 29||Suzuka Circuit|
Eleven Toyota drivers and eight Honda drivers on the grid
Dallara SF14 chassis remains in the championship for the fourth consecutive season, accommodating Honda HR-417E or Toyota RI4A engines. The entry list consists of 19 drivers from eleven teams, divided into two opposite camps – eleven Toyota entries and eight Honda entries.
The reigning champion Yuji Kunimoto stayed with the P.mu/cerumo・INGING team, sealing up the number 1 on his Toyota-powered Dallara SF14. Kunimoto exchanged the numbers with his teammate Hiroaki Ishiura, the 2015 champion who was driving the #1 car last year. This year, Ishiura will drive #2 Toyota.
Kondo Racing opted for two rookies
Kondo Racing will have cars #3 and #4 again but with a completely changed line-up of drivers. Nick Cassidy replaces James Rossiter in the #3 Toyota, Kenta Yamashita will drive the #4 car instead of William Buller. Both Cassidy and Yamashita are rookies, progressing from Japanese Formula 3.
Another rookie, Felix Rosenqvist from Sweden, will drive the #7 Toyota for Sunoco Team LeMans. His teammate in the #8 car will be Kazuya Oshima, who returns to Super Formula as a full-time entry for the first time since 2012. Last year’s Sunoco Team LeMans’ driver Kamui Kobayashi joined KCMG to drive #18 Toyota.
Team Tom’s retains two veterans
Nissan GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough, after spending 2016 season in the Formula 3 and Super GT Series, joins Team Impul for his debut in the Super Formula with #20 Toyota. He replaces Joao Paulo de Oliveira in the team. Yuhi Sekiguchi remains Team Impul’s driver.
Vandoorne left to F1, Izawa returns to Dandelion Racing
Among Honda teams, Real Racing dropped from two cars to a single entry, retaining Koudai Tsukakoshi in the #10 car. Takuya Izawa left Real Racing and rejoined his old team Dandelion Racing to drive #41 Honda, replacing Stoffel Vandoorne. Izawa was driving for Dandelion Racing from 2009 to 2013. Tomoki Nojiri is staying with Dandelion Racing for the fourth year in a row.
One more GP2 Series champion as Super Formula rookie
Team Mugen expanded to two cars. Naoki Yamamoto will contest again for the team, with GP2 Series champion and Super Formula rookie Pierre Gasly as his teammate. Following Drago Corse’s withdrawal from the championship, Takashi Kogure moved to another one-car team, joining B-MAX Racing Team in the #50 Honda. Nakajima Racing will run two cars again, retaining Daisuke Nakajima in the #64 Honda and replacing Bertrand Baguette with Narain Karthikeyan in the #65 car.
2017 Super Formula entry list
|1||P.mu/cerumo・INGING||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Yuji Kunimoto|
|2||P.mu/cerumo・INGING||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Hiroaki Ishiura|
|3||Kondo Racing||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Nick Cassidy (R)|
|4||Kondo Racing||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Kenta Yamashita (R)|
|7||Sunoco Team LeMans||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Felix Rosenqvist (R)|
|8||Sunoco Team LeMans||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Kazuya Oshima|
|10||Real Racing||Dallara SF14 (Honda)||Koudai Tsukakoshi|
|15||Team Mugen||Dallara SF14 (Honda)||Pierre Gasly (R)|
|16||Team Mugen||Dallara SF14 (Honda)||Naoki Yamamoto|
|18||KCMG||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Kamui Kobayashi|
|19||Itochu Enex Team Impul||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Yuhi Sekiguchi|
|20||Itochu Enex Team Impul||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Jann Mardenborough (R)|
|36||Vantelin Team Tom's||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Andre Lotterer|
|37||Vantelin Team Tom's||Dallara SF14 (Toyota)||Kazuki Nakajima|
|40||Docomo Team Dandelion Racing||Dallara SF14 (Honda)||Tomoki Nojiri|
|41||Docomo Team Dandelion Racing||Dallara SF14 (Honda)||Takuya Izawa|
|50||B-MAX Racing Team||Dallara SF14 (Honda)||Takashi Kogure|
|64||TCS Nakajima Racing||Dallara SF14 (Honda)||Daisuke Nakajima|
|65||TCS Nakajima Racing||Dallara SF14 (Honda)||Narain Karthikeyan|