Nakajima joins Toyota’s 2008 shortlist

Sat, 1 September 2007, 03:09

A 22-year-old Japanese has reportedly soared to the top of the favourites list to replace Ralf Schumacher at Toyota next year.

The German weekly Sport Bild claims that Kazuki Nakajima, currently placed by the Japanese giant at Toyota-powered Williams as a test and Friday driver, is being positioned as the best alternative to Schumacher for 2008.

Kazuki, the son of former F1 driver Satoru Nakajima, would be a cheaper option than $19m per-year Schumacher for Cologne based Toyota, but a team insider also explained that executives in Tokyo are keen to follow the example of McLaren/Lewis Hamilton by bringing on a young protege.

He has also been doing a credible job in GP2 this season.

“With the successes of Hamilton with McLaren, the youth principle has now drawn the attention of Japan,” the insider, referring to Nakajima, said.

“And Kazuki is young and Japanese.”

Sport Bild added that Kazuki’s biggest competitor for the race seat is not 32-year-old Ralf Schumacher, but BMW-Sauber tester and GP2 championship leader Timo Glock.

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