After spending four seasons in GP2 / F2 as a Honda junior and then funding an additional campaign with his own money, Matsushita won a total of seven wins in a series of Formula 1 feeders, two of which took place in art races – including his most recent victory in Barcelona in 2020.
The 28-year-old is a mainstay in the Super Formula net after losing his Formula 2 drive to MP Motorsport in the middle of the 2020 season, joining the Minnow B-Max Racing team and giving the team its long-awaited first championship victory last month. in humid conditions on Suzuka.
He therefore joins current AlphaTauri F1 racer Pierre Gasley and Stofel Vandorn in an exclusive club of riders who have won races in both categories.
But despite having to wait for his fourth season in the Super Formula to take the top step of the podium, Matsushita admitted that he believes his victories in Formula 2 racing are greater achievements.
“The victory in Formula 2 was for me all,” said Matsushita Autosport. “I do not want to say that the super formula is easy, of course, it is very difficult, but to win the race in Formula 2 is more difficult.
“Everyone is more aggressive, and for me personally it was more.”
Asked about his apparent lack of emotion after winning Suzuka compared to other recent winners who won for the first time, Matsushita replied: “I have won several times in F2…
“It’s better to be like that [relaxed], showing so many emotions is not my way. I don’t like that kind of drama. But if I win the championship … I don’t think I’ll cry, maybe … let’s see! “
Matsushita’s victory at Suzuka came on a day characterized by a slow-drying track and the need to take care of Yokohama’s fragile wet tires, and the rain abolished the need for a mandatory pit stop.
Some riders were catastrophically lacking in pace as they overheated their tires, leading some to exit the pits.
But Matsushita said his knowledge of Pirelli’s F2 tires was an important factor for his first Super Formula victory.
“Everything was under control [tyre] temperature and degradation, ”he explained. – I communicated well [B-Max team boss Satoshi] Motayama, he was able to help me stay calm, which was an important point.
“Surface temperature was crucial. So I tried not to turn the wheels because it heats up the tire surface and magnifies [tyre] pressure too. I was just doing what I used to do in F2. ”
Matsushita’s victory leaves him third in the championship ahead of the fourth round of the season this weekend at Autopolis after failing to score points in a disastrous starting bout at Fuji Speedway.
However, he faces a deficit of 36 points from reigning champion Tomoki Nodira, whom he bypassed to win over Suzuka.
“Winning one race gives me extra confidence in everything, so I feel a little more relaxed, relaxed,” Matsushita said. “The atmosphere [in the team] also much better than before.
“I think now everything is going in the right direction. We now have a much better understanding of our weaknesses, so we can start advancing in those specific areas that we lack.
“Before, we didn’t know our weaknesses, we just knew we didn’t have enough grip. But now we have more information.
“Of course, we will be fine if it rains [at Autopolis]but I want to see our performances dry because I think we have improved a lot compared to last year. ”