When you think on Japan and F-1, one thing that comes to mind is expertise, although even a giant like Honda had problems establishing itself after tasting the waters in the sixties and returned with a fantastic partnership with McLaren, in the eighties. But Kenji Mimura thought he could fight the big boys on the circuit in 1974 and leave the land of the rising sun with pride, creating a machine, the Maki F101 that was aerodynamically strange and bulky.
Neverteheless, at least it relied on a Cosworth DFV V8, which would guarantee some miles. And the driver chosen to command it was the already recognised kiwi Howden Ganley. He was in the cockpit at Brands Hatch to try to qualify it, but couldn’t. The same occurred later in Germany, where a crash even injured his legs seriously. Mimura decided to bring the car back to Tokyo, trying to develop it to return in better conditions the year after. He tried, with a nice sponsorship (Citizen Watches) but a Nippon driver, Hiroshi Fushida, with little experience on the European tracks.
And, then, in France, with only 25 starters, a place on the grid was guaranteed… only for the engine to malfunction during the practice and leave the team with empty hands, as a replacement was not available. Fushida tried again in Great Britain, this time with a DNQ. And in came paddler Tony Trimmer, who used to be fast on almost anything with wheels and had nice results on the unofficial F-1 races, but his fate was the same, with three DNQs. And in 1976, at the Japanese Grand Prix that handled James Hunt his title, not without controversy with Niki Lauda, as the car had returned to Japan, Mimura tried to field it one last time, again with Trimmer. But it did not start a race even at home. There was no more Maki after that.