Nakajima says pace, not Toyota, won him F1 seat

Thu, 8 November 2007, 09:19

Kazuki Nakajima has played down suggestions that he only secured the sister Williams seat alongside Nico Rosberg for 2008 due to the team’s association with Toyota.

The 22-year-old is a long time member of the Japanese giant’s Driver Development Programme, and a ‘Reuters’ report on Wednesday revealed that Nakajima’s new contract is a collaboration between Toyota and Sir Frank Williams’ team.

“It’s a bit complicated but for me personally it doesn’t matter,” he said.

In an interview with the British broadcaster ITV, he denied that his Toyota connection alone motivated Williams to sign him.

“I believe it (the drive) has come from my performances,” said Nakajima, who made his debut last month in the season-ending Brazilian grand prix, and previously was Williams’ Friday test driver.

Nakajima is also the son of the former grand prix driver Satoru, who today runs his own team in the premier Japanese open wheeler category Formula Nippon and is involved with the Toyota and Honda-powered series’ management.

Kazuki said: “Obviously we have some connections with Toyota through the engine deal, but Frank and Patrick (Head) told me that they were quite happy with the result in Brazil and the race pace was quite strong as well.

“I am sure they chose me because of that,” he added.

It is widely believed that the other leading contender for the 2008 Williams seat was Toro Rosso refugee Vitantonio Liuzzi.

The British newspaper The Independent observed: “As an independent at a time when manufacturer-supported teams are doing all the winning, Williams have to do all they can to please the company that lease them engines.”

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