She lives in Tokyo but travels all around the world to support her idol
Among all Carlos Sainz’s fans, Noriko T’s case is pretty special. Born in Tokyo (Japan), she has been his unconditional supporter since she discovered him in 2010 when he raced in Macao in the Formula BMW Series. She saw him race in Formula 3, she cheered for him as he moved to GP3 and later she supported him as he conquered the World Series by Renault. Now, Noriko enjoys Carlos’ second year as a Formula 1 driver. Just a few days ago, she flew over 10.000 kilometers to follow his idol in the pre-season winter tests.
Noriko isn’t just a ‘groupie’. She enjoys every sort of motorsports, but of all drivers she’s chosen Carlos. From the grandstands, she is thrilled by the screaming of the cars, especially by the sound of the Toro Rosso! She analyzes each racing line as he compares the differences between every single-seater and makes her own predictions about their performance. We caught up with her to talk about her passion for motorsports and her admiration for Carlos.
Question: Noriko, when did you meet Carlos for the first time?
Noriko: The first time was in 2010, in Macao. He was driving in Formula BMW. It was a very good race, he won the race!
Q: What does Carlos transmit you? What do you like the most about him?
NT: Carlos is a brave driver. He is good at cornering, very smooth. His driving is fantastic; he is aggressive and technical at the same time.
Q: Why did you start following him?
NT: I saw his Macao 2010 Formula BMW race. I knew he could be a big driver, so because I had the paddock pass I went to the paddock and looked for him. My friends knew Carlos Sainz, the two times WRC world champion, so maybe it was his son who was racing in Macao. We found Carlos Sr and then Carlos Jr arrived wearing his race suit. We talked to him. ‘Nice to meet you, you did a very good race’, we told him.
Q: What did he answer you?
NT: He wasn’t very talkative because we were strangers and it was the first time we met, but he said it was OK that we cheered for him. We started following him on the Internet and television. Then the following year he was driving in Formula 3 with Carlin. There’s a way to Formula 1 from Formula 3, so maybe he could make it. Sometimes he did some mistakes and that worried us a bit, but he stepped up his game and drove very well. I am very happy that after winning many races he got the chance to be in Formula 1 last year. He has proven to be on the big names.
Q: What’s your opinion on the 2016 pre-season?
NT: The machine looks so good! I don’t really know, because now it’s just testing and times are not important, but the other day Carlos drove 160 laps. Maybe it will be a good season, that’s what I hope!
Q: When did you start following motorsport?
NT: Back in 2001, it was the first time I went to Fuji. It was a small race. My exboyfriend was racing there in a small car, so I was there to help him. I felt very excited when I heard the sound of the engines for the first time. But I’ve also watched Formula E races and they’re also fun. Maybe for me sound is not so important, as long as there’s drama and fantastic races, it’s fun.
Q: To which races are you planning to go this year?
NT: I’ve bought the ticket for the Spanish GP. I will go to China, because it’s closer to Japan. I may go to Suzuka and make some big banners so I can place them on the grandstands!
Q: Have you given Carlos any presents?
NT: Yes, sometimes I give him t-shirts, for example. It’s difficult to find some souvenirs from Japan, because Carlos is a guy and he is younger than me. Every time I ask my friends or my boyfriend: ‘What would you want?’ I always try to give him funny things, or things he may use during a race weekend. The last thing I gave him was a relaxing bath soap. He may use it to relax after a Grand Prix!