Green Flag motoring assistance, sponsor of the British Formula 3 Championship has extended its congratulations to 2001 Green Flag British F3 champion Takuma Sato on the news that he is to race in Formula 1 next season with the Jordan Honda team.
Sato (24) joins an impressive roll call of top racing drivers who have honed their skills in the British Formula 3 Championship, considered the toughest F3 race series in the world.
Before Sato, the previous graduate from British F3 was Jenson Button, who joined Williams in 2000 before moving to Benetton and has established himself as a formidable F1 driver.
Young race drivers from around the globe come to Britain each year, intent on winning the British F3 Championship. The list of F3 old boys includes Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello, Nigel Mansell and the late great Ayrton Senna.
In winning the 2001 championship, Sato set new records, including winning 16 races against Senna's 12, when the Brazilian ace competed in 1983. Sato achieved six pole positions on his way to winning the Green Flag championship and recorded 15 fastest lap times.
The Japanese star's dominance in F3 this season was emphasised by the fact he took the lead in more than 200 of the 447 laps of the 2001 championship with only two retirements in the 26 race series.
Nick Page, Green Flag sponsorship manager said: "As sponsor of the British F3 Championship for the past two seasons, we are delighted that yet another Formula 3 star is set to make the step up to Formula 1. We are convinced that Sato has the qualities of courage, determination and undoubted skill in abundance to compete alongside racing drivers at the highest level."
Takuma Sato Fact File
Date of birth: 28/1/77
Titles won: 1997 Japanese FA2 Kart, 1996 All-Japan University Cycle Race
§ Began career in karts in 1996 in native Japan.
§ Won 1997 FA2 Championship for karts in Japan and attended the Suzuka Racing School run by ex-F1 racer Satoru Nakajima.
§ Made car racing debut in 1998 at Snetterton in the Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship and also experienced slicks and wings for the first time in 1998, competing in selected rounds of the Formula Opel European Union Series.
§ Raced in Europa Cup in early 1999, winning the opening race of the season at Donington, and moved into F3 in the National Class with Diamond Racing mid-season.
§ Won first time out at the British Grand Prix and graduated to Championship Class in 2000.
§ Took four wins on his way to third in the championship with Carlin Motorsport.
Green Flag motoring assistance supports Formula 1 stars of the future as sponsor of the British Formula 3 (F3) Championship. This is one of the major single-seater motor racing championships and has already produced more Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix winners and World Champions than any other race series in the world.
§ Green Flag motoring assistance, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in 2001 provides roadside rescue and recovery to more than 3.5m customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
§ Customers have access to a national network of independent recovery agents with 6,000 qualified technicians on call.