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Oyu closing on Super Formula reprieve with Servus

The 24-year-old has spent the last three seasons driving for Nakajima Racing, but departed the team at the end of last year, with Ren Sato taking his drive for the upcoming season.

Oyu’s name was conspicuously absent when Honda revealed its Super Formula driver roster last month, although he will continue to represent the marque in SUPER GT driving for the ARTA team.

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It’s understood that Oyu had wanted to switch to Team Goh, a team he saw as being a better fit for his outsider image, but the squad’s future was plunged into doubt by the loss of its Red Bull junior team programme, which has returned to Team Mugen for 2023.

However, the Servus organisation that ran Team Goh has not given up on fielding cars in 2023, and was present for last month’s Suzuka rookie test with Cem Bolukbasi at the wheel of its sole Honda-powered car.

Motorsport.com has learned that Oyu has been working to assemble the budget needed to drive for Servus this season, and is now close to his target.

If successful, the Hokkaido native would likely be part of a two-car Servus operation alongside an international driver, with ex-Formula 2 racer Bolukbasi the most likely candidate after his test appearance at Suzuka.

Bolukbasi told Motorsport.com last year he was weighing up options to return to F2 as well as the Servus opportunity, but any hopes of a return to the Formula 1 support category are now seemingly pinned on already-signed drivers missing budget payment deadlines.

Servus meanwhile is understood to have submitted an application for two entries ahead of last month’s final deadline, and Honda is open to supplying an 11th engine in the event that Servus can find the requisite finances.

The provisional 2023 Super Formula entry list comprises 11 Toyota-powered cars and nine Honda-powered machines for a total grid of 20 cars, with Giuliano Alesi having been named as the driver of the #36 TOM’S car last week by Toyota.

Should the grid finally expand to 22 cars, it would mark the largest grid size since the 2007 season for the Japanese series.

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