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Sato will not stay with BAR

September 23, 2005 12:31 IST

Japan's Takuma Sato will not stay on at BAR as a reserve driver after losing his Formula One race seat, according to manager Andrew Gilbert-Scott.

"I can't see any point," Gilbert-Scott said on Thursday.

"I can't see any benefit at all because obviously there are two race drivers on long-term contracts so there's no future. We want to find something to move forward."

BAR have signed Briton Jenson Button on a multi-year contract while Brazilian Rubens Barrichello is joining next year from Ferrari.

The team, 45 percent owned by Honda but under fire in Japan for removing the country's only driver from Formula One, have said they want to help Sato.

However his best bet now looks like Jordan, powered by Honda's rivals Toyota and due to change its team name to Midland in 2006.

That team, with Indian Narain Karthikeyan and Portugal's Tiago Monteiro this year, has yet to announce any drivers for 2006 although BAR test and reserve driver Anthony Davidson tested their car last week.

Gilbert-Scott said at least he could now discuss Sato's future openly now that Button had been confirmed. Japanese reporters said Sato had been informed only on Wednesday of BAR's decision.

"We are working on trying to get him in a race seat for next year, that's my priority. I'm hoping, I'm optimistic," said Gilbert-Scott.

"I'm not looking at America or anything else. I'm very optimistic that we'll get something in Formula One.

"We've had a lot of support and there's been a huge amount of disappointment [in Japan] at what has happened," he added.

Sato, despite scoring only one point so far this year to Button's 30, is the most successful Japanese driver in Formula One history.

He finished third in the 2004 US Grand Prix and has also started on the front row. His career points tally of 40 is a Japanese record.

 

Alan Baldwin
Source:
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