US GP notebook 2006-02-23

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK Sato, Ide to drive for new Super Aguri team; Speed pounds out testing miles INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 - Takuma Sato, who finished third in the 2004 United States Grand Prix, will return to the ...

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK
Sato, Ide to drive for new Super Aguri team; Speed pounds out testing miles

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 - Takuma Sato, who finished third in the 2004 United States Grand Prix, will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this year's United States Grand Prix on July 2 as the lead driver of the new Super Aguri F1 Team.

Sato, a veteran of 51 Grand Prix starts, teams up with fellow Japanese driver Yuji Ide.

"Everyone at Super Aguri has done a great job to make the team happen in such a short period of time," Sato said. "I am extremely excited to be working with the team and especially with Aguri, who has achieved huge success in motorsport."

Aguri Suzuki competed in 64 F1 races from 1988-95, including the 1990 and 1991 United States Grand Prix events in Phoenix. In addition to his new F1 team, Suzuki also fields a team in the IRL IndyCar® Series along with open-wheel veteran Adrian Fernandez.

Along with Californian Scott Speed and Nico Rosberg, the son of 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg, Ide is one of three rookies in this year's 22-driver lineup.

Ide began racing karts in 1990 in Japan and won several national championships before graduating to the Japan F3 championship. He later competed in Formula Nippon and the Super GT Series in Japan, and 2005 he finished second in the All Japan Championship Formula Nippon Series.

"This year will be very exciting and challenging," Ide said. "When I drove an F1 car for the first time I was nervous but very excited. The car is powerful!"

Super Aguri's first track tests of its Honda-powered SA05 are taking place this week in Barcelona, Spain.

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Speed tests in Italy: Scott Speed, who will be the first driver from the United States to compete in F1 since Michael Andretti in 1993, tested with the Scuderia Toro Rosso team Feb. 22-23 at the Imola circuit in Italy.

Consistent rain limited the track time for Speed and his teammate, Tonio Liuzzi. But the time was not wasted as Speed completed 78 laps in two days, and the team practiced pit stops and rehearsed various race weekend procedures.

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Testing continues: All the F1 teams are involved in a final flurry of testing before shipping their cars and equipment to Bahrain for the season opening Grand Prix on March 12.

Ferrari has completed hot-weather testing in Bahrain. Honda and Scuderia Toro Rosso also attended the Bahrain test.

1995 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and the BMW Sauber team are testing this week in Imola, Italy.

Honda, Williams-Cosworth, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull Ferrari, MF1-Toyota and Super Aguri Honda are testing this week in Barcelona, Spain.

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Schumacher ready to race: Four-time United States Grand Prix winner and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher can't wait to go racing.

"The last stage of preseason preparations is coming up," Ferrari lead driver Schumacher said. "Just one more week at Mugello (Italy), and the 2006 season will get underway. And after all the hard work we've put in during the last couple of weeks, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks it's about time!

"It looks as though we've got a better package this year than we did last year, and we're all ready to compete."

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Toyota update: Panasonic Toyota has introduced a major bodywork and aerodynamic update for the TF106 cars that Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli will race this year.

"It was always our intention to maximize development time in the wind tunnel," said chassis technical director Mike Gascoyne. "In this way, we have been able to run the mechanical base of the TF106 since the end of November to gather extremely valuable data from the car and the Bridgestone tires.

"We have looked at every single component to produce what I believe is our most competitive aero package to date. We have a new front wing and rear wing, more sculpted sidepods, modified diffuser, and a restyled engine cover and floor."

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2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

-ims-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Jacques Villeneuve , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Scott Speed , Keke Rosberg , Nico Rosberg , Yuji Ide , Aguri Suzuki , Mike Gascoyne
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams , Super Aguri F1