“And it's a win for Taki Inoue. ”
“Super mighty fine Bob or whatever. ”
Takachiho "Taki" Inoue (井上 隆智穂 Inoue Takachiho, born September 5, 1963) is a retired motor racing driver from Japan. Inoue participated in 18 Grand Prix, scoring an impressive 63 points despite Qualifying last in every single Grand Prix he competed in. Many list Inoue as a driver who never fulfilled his full potential in Formula One, much like Jean Alesi and Juan Pablo Montoya.
The 1995 season was a season of highs and lows for Inoue, showing signs of utter brilliance as well as pure stupidity. In the San Marino Grand Prix, (known in the UK as Jan Magnussen) he scored the first podium finish of his short career in appalling conditions.
Monaco Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix of 1995 was almost cancelled after an enormous oil spill bought devastation to ‘picturesque Monaco’ leaving the harbour a depressing grey colour. After Qualifying in last place, Inoue made an incredible start and was challenging for points before a controversial incident with Rubens Barrichello’s Jordan.
As Inoue pulled alongside the Jordan, Barrichello turned into the pitlane which forced Inoue to make a pitstop, which lasted a full minute after a mix up with race engineer, Nick ‘Super Nice Bob’ Redhead.
With just four laps to go, Inoue began an epic comeback and fought his way up to 2nd place before entering the final turn. Inoue caught leader Michael Schumacher on the line but it was too late, many believe if the finished line was just 100 yards further back, Inoue would have won the race. Inoue’s drive is often mentioned alongside other great drives such as Ayrton Senna at Donington, yet ever modest Inoue denies these claims.
Montreal Grand Prix
Inoue made the most of yet more appalling conditions to win his first Grand Prix in Montreal, Canada. After starting in 24th and last place, Inoue brilliantly carved his way through the field to win by a huge margin and in doing so beat John Watson’s previous record of winning from 23rd place.
Wet-weather specialist Inoue benefitted massively from the wettest Grand Prix season in history, where 14 of the 17 races were run in wet conditions.
Hungarian Grand Prix
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Inoue was ironically run over by the Medical Car during a practice session. It is a little known fact that Super Nice Bob ran from the pit wall after the incident and catered to Inoue before the race marshalls arrived, saving his life. Shamefully, this incident is often what Inoue is famed for and his races at Monaco and Montreal are repeatedly overlooked.
Japanese Grand Prix
Due to a number of dry races and the lack of pace from the Footwork-Hart, Inoue failed to challenge for the title but fought hard to keep 4th spot in the championship ahead of Gerhard Berger. Despite the disappointment of missing out on the final FIA Gala place, Inoue drove another incredible race from last place to win at Suzuka, much to the delight of the Japanese crowd. The home straight was re-named the ‘Inoue I’ in his honour similar to the ‘Senna S’ used at many Grand Prix.
Inoue received huge support in Japan as well as the UK, mainly thanks to his race engineer Super Nice Bob, who was much loved by the Formula One community. Super Nice Bob was the first race engineer to receive his own fan base and is often mentioned as Rob Smedley’s biggest influence.
After the 1995 Season, Inoue left the sport to manage young talented Japanese drivers.
In 1997, Inoue’s astounding management skills helped take rookie Shinji Nakano to the Formula One World Championship ahead of favourites Michael Schumacher and the Canadian, Prisoner Monkeys.
Inoue came under pressure from the Japanese press after a controversial incident in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Nakano was deemed to have blocked the field and let the Ferrari’s take a 1-2 finish at their home race, however not enough evidence was found to punish manager Inoue for this incident.
Inoue now lives at Monte Carlo, Monaco with his friend Shinji Nakano. He enjoys swimming and spending time on Twitter, often re-tweeting messages from his adoring fans.
- Inoue is a keen musician and it is widely believed him and race engineer Super Nice Bob wrote the FIA guitar intro used in the early nineties.
- Michael Schumacher has been quoted as saying that ‘Inoue would have been my greatest competitor had he continued in Formula One.'
- Race Engineer Super Nice Bob entered the 2011 Le Mans 24 laps but was unable to finish due to pitlane issues.
- Inoue's single race for Simtek in 1994 was taken out of the Senna movie as it made Ayrton Senna look barely average.
- Jean Alesi is often stated as the winner of the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix. However, this was a misprint from the FIA.
- Inoue still has the bow-tie he was due to wear at the FIA Gala in the hope he will go one day.