Following the news that Takuma Sato had been released from his contract with Jordan to re-join BAR as test driver, Eddie Jordan thanked the Japanese driver for his efforts in 2002. Sato had an enthusiastic debut year with Jordan which saw him have a few rather large crashes -- but he showed his worth at the Japanese Grand Prix where he came home fifth to score his first F1 points in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
"Takuma Sato has natural driving talent and a lot of bravery," Eddie Jordan said in a statement from the team. "We had an eventful and exciting together this year. I have every confidence in him and I hope he will build on the ability demonstrated in Suzuka perhaps one of the best drives of the season. I would like to extend my thanks to Takuma and the Honda Dream programme."
Sato joining BAR does not come as a big surprise: with Honda deciding to supply only BAR with engines in 2003, it was widely thought that Sato would follow the engine manufacturer as he is part of its long term plans. Now this announcement has been made, Jordan has presumably lined up a replacement for Sato. Eddie Irvine, Felipe Massa and Enrique Bernoldi have all been linked with Jordan in the past months but who will claim the race seat is yet to be seen.