Former Japanese Super Formula champion and Honda protégé Naoki Yamamoto would like to broaden his motorsport horizons in the future, but a move to IndyCar is off the table.
The highly rated Yamamoto, who was double Super Formula and Super GT champion in 2018, was awarded a free practice outing at the Japanese Grand Prix with Toro Rosso last year.
The impressive experience piqued the 31-year-old’s interest in competing beyond his usual home series in the future, although Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko made clear that Yamamoto doesn’t fit the bill for a full-time graduation to F1.
As a Honda-backed driver, the Japanese charger could be tempted into testing an IndyCar but racing in the series, perhaps on behalf of Honda, is currently not a prospect he would be willing to embrace.
“If I drive in domestic races, Super Formula and Super GT, I want to win more titles,” Yamamoto told Motorsport.com.
“But this year I drove a Formula 1 car and I got the feeling that world championship racing is really good.
“So I want to drive in this, against more high-level rivals if I have the chance. If I had the chance I want to drive an F1 car again. I would like to drive an IndyCar as well.
“But at the moment I have no interest in racing in IndyCar. It’s a really competitive series, second only to F1, but on the other hand it’s a really dangerous category.
“If it was only road courses and street courses, then I would definitely drive. But ovals… I have a family, and there is too much risk. At the moment I don’t want to race there.”
In 2019, Yamamoto shared once again his Team Kunimitsu Super GT ride with Jenson Button, a man who never failed to praise his teammate’s outstanding talent and raise his profile whenever he was given the opportunity to do so.
“My profile is higher because of Jenson, and also one of the reasons that I had the chance to try the Toro Rosso Formula 1 is Jenson,” said Yamamoto.
“Jenson brought a lot of things for Japanese racing and Japanese fans. He has a lot of fans all over the world.
“I think he raised the status of Japanese drivers, and especially in Honda.”