Get to know DAMS’ Japanese rookie Ayumu Iwasa a little better with an inside look at the Red Bull junior’s biggest achievements, racing heroes and favourite tracks.
NAME: Ayumu Iwasa DATE OF BIRTH: 22/09/2001 NATIONALITY: Japanese 2022 TEAM: DAMS
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
“Osaka in Japan. It is a bit smaller than Tokyo, but it is the second biggest city in Japan. The part where I grew up in wasn't too busy, but I had to go far away for karting - the track was far away from my house.”
FIRST RACING MEMORY
“My parents used to race, not professionally, but they did some amateur. I come from a racing family - my grandfather, on my mother's side, he had a racing shop. My mother and my grandfather raced together.
“My father raced as well and that is how they met at Suzuka. They crashed into each other in a race – twice! Once at the S corner and once at the hairpin in a touring car race. I think my mother was driving a slower car than my father was, but he spun in front of her, and they crashed.
“I tried karting when I was four years old at a dirt track and I was drifting, I thought that it was really fun. I always loved cars, I really enjoyed karting and decided that I wanted to race. I don't think they thought that I was going to be a racing driver though, because they know how hard it is to make it. They already knew this.
“I won my first karting race. I was racing with a family team, with my father as my mechanic and my mother was helping to manage everything. “
“My mother and father weren't telling me how to drive, they let me develop myself. I was watching professional drivers from Japan online and drifting as well. I love drifting. When I was young, I was struggling not to drive too fast!”
“F1 drivers are a good benchmark, it is where you want to get too. Especially Yuki (Tsunoda), he is a good benchmark but I don't have heroes. They are good examples to follow. “
THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A RACING DRIVER
“Enjoying the lifestyle. At the beginning of this season, I was focusing too much on driving and improving, I was thinking about racing too much, and I was forgetting to enjoy the lifestyle.
“I think it was before Budapest, my mechanics told me that I have to enjoy it, and that the results will follow if you are enjoying it. I have tried to enjoy the races more and I think the results have improved. I was a bit nervous at that point, it was my first time driving at Budapest and I hadn't had a good race at Spa the weekend before but, the mechanics told me to enjoy it and things improved.
“I did well in Qualifying and ended up taking my first victory and podium. I think that was a big turning point for me."
“I really liked Spa and Budapest, they were fun to drive, especially Budapest. It was hard to drive physically, you don't get to have any rest. Budapest was my best result and that helps make it my favourite track. Zandvoort was the hardest physically."