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Ukyo Katayama
Ukyo Katayama 2008.jpg
Katayama in 2008
Nationality Japan Japanese
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19921997
Teams Larrousse, Tyrrell, Minardi
Races 97 (95 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 5
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1992 South African Grand Prix
Last race 1997 European Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 1998-1999
Teams Toyota Team Europe
Best finish 2nd (1999)
Class wins 1 (1999)

Ukyo Katayama (片山 右京 Katayama Ukyō ?, born May 29, 1963) is a Japanese racing driver, most notable for competing six years in Formula One. Despite struggling with under-funded teams throughout his career, Katayama's performances impressed on several occasions, and was popular in the F1 paddock for his unshakeably sunny disposition and self-deprecating sense of humour ("It is possible to do more with this car - the only problem is my driving!")[1]

He participated in 97 Grands Prix, debuting on March 1, 1992. He scored a total of five championship points, all of them for the Tyrell team in 1994.

He also competed in the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing 2nd overall and 1st in the GTP class.

Contents

Biography

Katayama was born in Tokyo. He first raced in Europe in 1986 in France before returning home to win the Japanese F3000 series in 1991.

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Formula One

His sponsors, Japan Tobacco, arranged a Formula One seat for Katayama in 1992 with Cabin brand, with the Larrousse team. The car was unreliable and a distinct midfielder, with team-mate Bertrand Gachot getting the lion's share of the team's meagre resources. However, Katayama impressed by running in 5th at the Canadian GP until his engine blew, but was eventually left with a brace of 9th places as his best result. Unfortunately, the year was also remembered for two embarrassing collisions with Gachot in Canada and at home in Japan.

Japan Tobacco managed to arrange a switch to Tyrrell for 1993, but the team were at a nadir, with the interim 020C essentially three years old, and the new 021 proving uncompetitive. 10th place at the Hungarian GP was his best result, in a year in which he attracted more attention for accidents.

1994 was to see a considerable turnaround for Tyrrell and Katayama. He impressed with the new 022, with three points-scoring finishes, a number of good qualifying performances, and generally being faster than his more experienced and acclaimed team-mate Mark Blundell. He was consistently a top-6 runner, but the car proved to be unreliable, leading him to 12 retirements, including the German GP, in which he was running 3rd before his throttle stuck open. However, in the four races that he did finish, he scored two 5th places, one 6th, and one 7th, good enough for 5 World Championship points.

Katayama driving for Tyrrell at the 1995 British Grand Prix.

After his 1994 performance, he was allegedly offered a contract with a top team for the 1995 season, but in Katayama's words, "he couldn't sign it". It would later emerge that in 1994 he had been diagnosed with cancer in his back; while non-threatening, it was painful, and his Grand Prix commitments delayed treatment. Katayama did not announce this until he retired from Formula One, not wanting anyone's sympathy to make excuses for him.

He stayed on with Tyrrell for the next two seasons, but suffered a loss of form, with two 7th places in high-attrition races his best results, thus scoring no points whilst being outpaced by rookie team-mate Mika Salo. During these years his habit of crashing would re-emerge, notably with a spectacular barrel-roll at the start of the 1995 Portuguese GP, and, as a rather short man, was highly disadvantaged by the regulation changes which led to walls being built up around the cockpit, a response to the death of Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino GP.

After leaving Tyrrell, his Mild Seven (another brand of Japan Tobacco) backing landed him a seat at Minardi, but they too were at a low ebb, and two 10th places were his best result. At his home Grand Prix, he emotionally announced his retirement from Formula One.

After Formula One

As a racing driver

Katayama's Toyota GT-One for the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Still popular in his homeland, Katayama has since dabbled in sportscars and GT racing, as well as his other love of mountaineering. One of his most notable performance post F1 was at the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, when during the last hour, as he was lapping traffic and closing up the leading BMW in his Toyota GT-One, sharing with compatriots Keiichi Tsuchiya and Toshio Suzuki, his car suffered a tyre blowout and whilst staying calm as nothing had happened, he was forced to slowly make its way around the track to return to the pits for a new set. In the process the GT-One lost the lead, and thus lost the race. The lone GT-One would come home 2nd overall, one lap behind the winning BMW. As a consolation prize, the GT-One would win the GTP class, although it was the only car in the class to actually finish.

He is also entering the Dakar Rally with Toyota.

In 2008, he was one of several retired F1 drivers to compete in the new Speedcar Series.

As a mountain climber

Katayama is a lover of mountain climbing. He has often been climbing mountains since his F1 era.

In 2001 he climbed the world's sixth-highest mountain, Cho Oyu. On December 1, 2006, it was reported that he had achieved his lifetime ambition of climbing Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world, after an unsuccessful attempt in 2004.[2]

On December 18, 2009, it was reported that he had been missing whilst climbing Mount Fuji with two friends. Upon calling a police search and rescue team, they informed the police that one of their climbing party had died, and another was presumed to be dying. Eventually, Katayama was found alive while two fellow climbers were found dead.[3]

Other sports

He has been participating other sporting events as an official invitee, such as Honolulu Marathon and Honolulu Century Ride.

Media appearances

He is now a commentator of Formula One in Japan, for Fuji TV. In 1997 he was a guest judge on Iron Chef.

Complete Formula One results

(key)

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1992 Central Park Venturi Larrousse Venturi Larrousse LC92 Lamborghini V12 RSA
12
MEX
12
BRA
9
ESP
DNQ
SMR
Ret
MON
DNPQ
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
17
ITA
9
POR
Ret
JPN
11
AUS
Ret
NC 0
1993 Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell 020C Yamaha V10 RSA
Ret
BRA
Ret
EUR
Ret
SMR
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
17
FRA
Ret
GBR
13
NC 0
Tyrrell 021 Yamaha V10 GER
Ret
HUN
10
BEL
15
ITA
14
POR
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1994 Tyrrell Tyrrell 022 Yamaha V10 BRA
5
PAC
Ret
SMR
5
MON
Ret
ESP
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
6
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
EUR
7
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
17th 5
1995 Nokia Tyrrell Yamaha Tyrrell 023 Yamaha V10 BRA
Ret
ARG
8
SMR
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
7
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
10
POR
Ret
EUR
PAC
14
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
NC 0
1996 Tyrrell Yamaha Tyrrell 024 Yamaha V10 AUS
11
BRA
9
ARG
Ret
EUR
DSQ
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
ESP
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
7
BEL
8
ITA
10
POR
12
JPN
Ret
NC 0
1997 Minardi Team Minardi M197 Hart V8 AUS
Ret
BRA
18
ARG
Ret
SMR
11
MON
10
ESP
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
11
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
10
BEL
14
ITA
Ret
AUT
11
LUX
Ret
JPN
Ret
EUR
17
NC 0

References

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kazuyoshi Hoshino
Japanese Formula 3000
Champion

1991
Succeeded by
Mauro Martini

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