Kazuki is the son of legendary Japanese driver, Satoru Nakajima, who was the first full time Formula 1 driver to come out of Japan. Young Kazuki Nakajima has huge boots to fill in, in his quest with the sport. With a healthy GP2 experience to his name, the Japanese driver made his Formula1 debut for the Williams team in the final race of the 2007 season at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
With motorsports running through his veins, Kazuki was destined for a life on fast four wheels from his birth. He started his career at an early age of 11 in kart racing under the tutelage of his father. Within few years, the youngster graduated through various karting championships and became a much talked about name in the motor racing fraternity in Japan. He attracted the attention of the Toyota Motor company who invited him to become a member of their young driver programme.
In 2002, he won a scholarship in Formula Toyota, which he followed up by winning the series in 2003. In 2004 and 2005, he competed in the Japanese F3 series where he impressed one and all with his natural driving skills. He then went on to race in the F3 Euro Series, in 2006, and finished in 7th place. His skills caught the eyes of the Toyota-Williams team who signed Nakajima as their official test driver for the 2007 F1 season. He thus became the first driver of the Toyota young driver programme to graduate to the world of Formula1.
“For anyone with an interest in motor racing, Formula One is the ultimate objective and I am delighted that Williams, one of the senior names in the sport and a team that exists solely to race, has given me this great chance. It will be a great honour to be the first TDP driver to graduate to Formula One,” Kazuki was quoted as saying after being signed on.
Combined with his Williams duty, the youngster also raced in the GP2 series for the renowned DAMS team. He did not win a single race in his first GP2 season, but his five consecutive podium finishes earned him the tag of ‘Rookie of the Year’.
Following the retirement of Alexander Wurz in October 2007, Kazuki Nakajima was immediately promoted to the Williams team’s race seat for the season finale in Brazil. Despite couple of pit stop blunders, the 22-year old finished tenth in the race. He set the fifth fastest lap of the race which was the highlight of his GP debut. His stupendous performance certainly impressed the Williams team and it was later confirmed that Nakajima will partner Rosberg for the UK based team in 2008 season.
With the advantage, and disadvantage, of having a famous father, Kazuki will look to live up to the expectations by showing strength of character. After making a spotty start to his F1 career, the Japanese driver will look to begin afresh for the 2008 season.