2019 Japanese Super Formula Championship entry list and preview
The 2019 Japanese Super Formula Championship season will kick-off this weekend at Suzuka Circuit. It would be the 33rd season of the premier Japanese open-wheel racing competition and the seventh season under Super Formula name.
There will be twenty drivers from eleven teams on the grid, one driver more than in 2018, over seven rounds at Japanese major race tracks – Suzuka (opening round and finale), Autopolis, Sugo, Fuji, Motegi and Okayama.
The biggest novelty is the new car, the Dallara SF19 chassis, still in combination with Toyota or Honda engines. Toyota will be represented by eleven drivers, Honda will have nine cars on the grid.
The SF19 car has been made under the latest FIA safety standards, meaning it has a halo device for the first time in some Japanese championship. The tires are wider than at the previous SF14 car, bringing more grip and better lap times. The potential was seen during pre-season tests at Suzuka and Fuji, where lap times were just as fast as track records.
Naoki Yamamoto is entering the championship as defending champion and he will drive the #1 Dallara SF19-Honda. Yamamoto captured his second SF championship title in 2018, previously winning the inaugural Super Formula in 2013. After eight seasons with Team Mugen, Nakajima changes a team and joined DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing for 2019.
His teammate would be Nirei Fukuzumi, who is entering his second season in the Super Formula after four starts with Team Mugen last year. Instead of Yamamoto and Fukuzumi, Team Mugen hired Tomoki Nojiri and Dan Ticktum. Nojiri moved from Dandelion Racing while the 19-year-old British racer Dan Ticktum is coming from European Formula 3 where he was runner-up last year.
While Ticktum tried Super Formula in last year’s two rounds, there will be five rookies from Europe that will have their first Super Formula races this weekend at Suzuka. The Frenchman Tristan Charpentier joined Real Racing after he raced in British BRDC Formula 3 last year. The Spanish driver Alex Palou raced last year in the European F3 Championship and the year before in the Japanese F3 championships, now he is joining TCS Nakajima Racing.
The Russian driver Artem Markelov joins Team LeMans after five seasons in GP2/F2. German team Motorpark is entering the championship in a partnership with Japanese B-Max Racing Team, bringing two European drivers to the series – Briton Harrison Newey (from F3 and endurance racing) and Austrian Lucas Auer (four seasons in DTM).
Of other non-Japanese drivers, there will be one more on the grid, the last year’s vice-champion Nick Cassidy from New Zealand, who stays with Toyota but moves from Kondo Racing to Team Tom’s.
Last year’s Japanese F3 champion Sho Tsuboi will make a debut in Super Formula alongside veteran Hiroaki Ishiura in the P.mu/cerumo Inging team. Another rookie from Japan is Tadasuke Makino, who raced last year in Formula 2. In total, there will be seven rookies on the 2019 Super Formula grid.
2019 Super Formula entry list
|1||DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing||Honda||Naoki Yamamoto|
|5||DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing||Honda||Nirei Fukuzumi|
|3||Kondo Racing||Toyota||Kenta Yamashita|
|4||Kondo Racing||Toyota||Yuji Kunimoto|
|7||Team LeMans||Toyota||Artem Markelov|
|8||Team LeMans||Toyota||Kazuya Oshima|
|15||Team Mugen||Honda||Dan Ticktum|
|16||Team Mugen||Honda||Tomoki Nojiri|
|17||Real Racing||Honda||Tristan Charpentier|
|19||Team Impul||Toyota||Yuhi Sekiguchi|
|20||Team Impul||Toyota||Ryo Hirakawa|
|36||Team Tom's||Toyota||Kazuki Nakajima|
|37||Team Tom's||Toyota||Nick Cassidy|
|38||JMS P.mu/cerumo Inging||Toyota||Hiroaki Ishiura|
|39||JMS P.mu/cerumo Inging||Toyota||Sho Tsuboi|
|50||B-Max with Motorpark||Honda||Lucas Auer|
|51||B-Max with Motorpark||Honda||Harrison Newey|
|64||TCS Nakajima Racing||Honda||Alex Palou|
|65||TCS Nakajima Racing||Honda||Tadasuke Makino|
Photos: Super Formula,