facepalm...this is just not true
Sato's overall incident rate was pretty much average, but the word "Sato" is pretty much synonim of crashy or laughingstock.
Nakajima jr had way less accident rate than average, but as soon as he had first accidents, people were quickly calling him clashajima. He is widely regarded as crashajima and even said to have lack of spacial awareness. When his perfectly explainable collision with Nissan Deltawing at LeMans 24 this year happened, there was outburst of "cahajima", "simply no good for driver", "spacial awareness" etc on various forums incl this one, even by some forumers who I regarded highly, even by some guy (forgot who, but seemed ex-f1 mechanic or driver or sth) at the track being interviewed. Funny thing is that in that race 4 DIFFERENT AUDI DRIVERS crashed or spun in ways that are more amateurish than Nakajima, but pretty much no one laughing them.
Compare that to Lewis, Gro, Maldo, Liuzzi, etc who had WAY more crash than him.
I've been actually very very critical to what Japanese manufacturers did about introducing Japanese drivers to F1 as well as how JP companies threw money into F1 in the past, but fact of the matter is that manufacturer route has been the only way for Japanese drivers to get into F1.
he went into F1 thanks to Toyota and did good and has since then been driving for Sauber for 3 years. that's a better opportunity than most drivers wanting to get into F1 ever will have
Also pay driver is not exclusive to Japan at all, look at past minardi or jordan drivers from south america and europe, many drivers got in by money/backing and driver program such as Red Bulls etc.
And no western agency/manager/manufacturers bother to check junior racings in Japan nor pick young japanese talent to put in european series. It's not that they have unlimited resources either, so they have no incentive to look beyond proven markets ie europe and south america.
And for Japanese young drivers to go, continue racing, and gain experience in Europe, you need huge money. No one can afford such amount of money.
Edited by muramasa, 14 October 2012 - 16:53.