FEBRUARY 4, 2008
Yamamoto joins Renault
The ING Renault F1 Team has signed a deal with Sakon Yamamoto to give him the role of test development driver for the 2008 season. This is most odd as the team already has a third driver and a test and reserve driver and the impression one gets is that Yamamoto's presence in the team may be related to the desires of a sponsor or because he is bringing backing to the team. The team seems to be well-funded but then the ING deal may have had performance clauses based on the number of points scored which would mean a lower than expected budget this year. The car certainly has some spaces available, despite the arrival of Pepe Jeans London.
With a limited amount of testing allowed each year the chances of all three test, third and reserve drivers getting a decent run are pretty small as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet (who now wants everyone stop calling him Junior) both have good reason to want to test as much as possible: Alonso to improve the car and Piquet to learn as much as possible.
Yamamoto is expected to play an important role in the Renault F1 Roadshow programme.