Max Verstappen’s Red Bull RB16B will be handed over to another Champion driver for an outing this weekend.
Tomoki Nojiri, a Honda factory driver from Super Formula, will climb behind the wheel of Verstappen’s title-winning 2021 Red Bull RB16B for a demonstration run at this weekend’s Honda Thanks Day at Motegi.
The annual event, which draws together the drivers and machines that represented Honda’s factory efforts throughout the year, is being held this weekend at the Mobility Resort Motegi with Nojiri getting the chance to drive the RB16B.
Nojiri, who won the Super Formula title for Team Mugen in 2021 and ’22, narrowly missed out on a third consecutive title as Ritomo Miyata and Liam Lawson seized the initiative as Nojiri was forced to miss a round due to illness.
His first run in an F1 car was on Saturday, when he drove Verstappen’s RB16B, to the delight of the fans gathered for the Honda celebrations.
Nojiri will drive the car again early on Sunday, with Honda staging a ‘Red Bull Racing Honda RB16B x Team Mugen SF23’ collaboration that will see him out on track at the same time as 2024 Team Mugen teammate Ayumu Iwasa – the Japanese driver back home from Abu Dhabi following his F2 race and AlphaTauri F1 test at Yas Marina.
Other international talents on the ground include Takuma Sato and Yuki Tsunoda.
Nojiri has indicated interest in a new challenge outside of Japan’s racing scene, but the 34-year-old is unlikely to be a prospect for a Honda-powered F1 team any time soon.
Separately, later in the day on Sunday, both Red Bull and AlphaTauri will hold showruns around Motegi.