Q & A WITH TAKUMA SATO, SAF1 TEAM DRIVER, CAR 22
Q: Are you happy with the progress that the SAF1 Team has made during the winter preparations for the coming season?
Takuma Sato: It's been a long winter test compared to what we had last year! Technically we are looking good, but as with everything, we are demanding and there is never as much time as you would like to prepare. Looking at our situation right now, I am very happy with the progress that we have made, with the developments on the car and the team atmosphere.
Q: And with the 2007 car preparations?
TS: They have been very successful. We were able to participate in the first winter test at the end of November 2006 and I myself joined the team testing at the end of December and was able to experience the 2007 Bridgestone Potenza control tyres for the first time. We made good progress that continued into the new year and we are very happy with our last test in Bahrain and our new aero package, so I believe that we have completed a very good exercise over the winter.
Q: What will F1 be like with only Bridgestone Potenza tyres in 2007? Will the sport change?
TS: I think that it may change a little, but we shall have to wait and see. I believe that a strong team is always strong and so it will not make a huge difference to us. Now that we have one tyre supplier the situation and conditions will be the same for every team, but I believe that the racing may be closer than before.
Q: Who do you think that you will be taking the challenge to this year?
TS: Whoever is in front of me! Obviously last year was a big challenge for us and we had no particular main rivals until the end of season. This year we shall reach a higher level of competition and hopefully be in the middle of the grid, so I am looking forward to taking the challenge to whoever is in front of us.
Q: What is it like working with Anthony again?
TS: Obviously it is great. I have known Anthony for many years as we raced together in 2001 in British Formula 3 and as you know we worked together at BAR Honda. Anthony has great experience from testing in F1 and has showed tremendous speed in the third driver role over the past few years, so he could bring some very positive things to the team. I also think that we will enjoy giving each other a little pressure on the track and it will certainly push team and ourselves to the absolute limit to achieve the best possible result we could have.
Q: What are your aims for 2007?
TS: Personally I would like to go to every Grand Prix and score a point. Realistically I know that this will be very hard as we would have to beat some of the more experienced teams on the grid, but I think I have to challenge and this will be my approach for this year.
-credit: super aguri