Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's new race driver Takuma Sato speaks out after being confirmed as Jenson Button's 2004 team-mate Q: What are your thoughts on securing a race seat with B.A.R? Takuma Sato: Obviously I'm extremely delighted. Having...
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's new race driver Takuma Sato speaks out after being confirmed as Jenson Button's 2004 team-mate
Q: What are your thoughts on securing a race seat with B.A.R?
Takuma Sato: Obviously I'm extremely delighted. Having agreed a three-year deal with B.A.R last year, the first year of which was as third driver, it was my hope and expectation that I would be able to secure a race seat for 2004. I gave 100% in testing this year and it is fantastic that all that effort has been rewarded with a drive next year.
TS: There has obviously been a lot of speculation in recent weeks but I couldn't be sure until I heard from the team. After Indianapolis I headed straight to Mugello to test for the team and it was only after I left Europe last weekend for Tokyo that I was informed of the teams decision when I heard the news from my manager. It was the best news I could have hoped for and after all the speculation it was also a great relief for me.
Q: What are your expectations in terms of performance for next year?
TS: My year racing for Jordan in 2002 was very much a learning curve, especially in the second half of the season when I had little opportunity to test and each circuit was completely new to me. 2003 gave me a good chance to get to know the B.A.R team again as there had been substantial changes to the management and the organisation. I formed a very good relationship with the engineers in particular and having completed over 7500kms over almost 30 testing days, I believe that the assistance I have given to the development of the car has been extremely beneficial to the team.
I believe all of this experience will contribute to a successful season with B.A.R in 2004, as I feel much better equipped for my second season racing. I will be pushing very hard and I hope that my determination will translate to good race results.
Q: How is your relationship with your new teammate Jenson Button?
TS: Jenson has done a very impressive job in his first year with the team. We have worked alongside each other in testing this year and we get on well together. His style is very much one of a team player and I have enjoyed and benefited from working alongside him this year. I am sure that we will work well together and I am looking forward to being his teammate.
Q: Being Japanese, you must be looking forward to working with Honda again?
TS: I have a longstanding relationship with Honda and I am sure that common language between myself and the Japanese will be a significant benefit to everyone.