#15 Pierre Gasly (FRA – Team Mugen Honda HR-417E)
Super Formula championship: 10th – 0 points – after 1 of 9 races
For the second Japanese Super Formula event of the season, Pierre Gasly is off to Okayama, a 3.703km circuit that hosted the Formula One Pacific Grand Prix in 1994 and 1995, both events being won by Michael Schumacher. "Yes it's incredible to think of having an F1 Grand Prix there, it seems so short and narrow," exclaims Gasly as he looks forward to the weekend.
The 21-year-old French Red Bull Junior has the experience of Suzuka behind him and is confident that he can have a much stronger weekend than in the first round.
"We did a lot of work after Suzuka, studying the data and we found the cause of more or less all of the issues we had there. So we have a plan to do a lot of work this weekend and go through them all. Of course finding solutions is not always easy but I think we have a good plan in place, and we should get back to the way we were in preseason testing where we were confident and competitive."
"The track is very different to Suzuka, it doesn't have the fast sections that are such a big part of Suzuka so has different needs as far as the car is concerned. I think we know what we need to do to get it set-up for that. I've not driven here before but I did try it in Honda's sim back in March when we had a day doing Suzuka, Fuji and Okayama so I have 20 or 30 laps in a sim for this track."
"We have some track time on Friday before the official sessions start on Saturday and we will need to be efficient to get to qualifying with the car well prepared to get a good grid position as it is so hard to pass here, I think there was one overtake in last year's race," concluded Gasly.
Unlike Suzuka there are two races this weekend, with a separate qualifying for each.
Okayama weekend schedule – all times JST (Japan Standard Time CEST +7)
Saturday May 27th
08.45 Free Practice – 45 minutes
10.30 Qualifying 1 – 20 minutes
15.30 Race 1 – 30 laps
Sunday May 28th
09.20 Qualifying 2 – 20 minutes and 10 minutes
14.25 Race 2 – 51 laps