Japanese F1 star talks about his season from hell – and the future.
10 July 2008

It’s been a torrid year for Takuma Sato, who lost his Formula One drive when the Super Aguri team collapsed. But Japan’s leading motorsport star isn’t giving up on making a return to the top flight of motoring, as he revealed to Autocar during an exclusive interview.You must have been heartbroken when the Super Aguri team folded? TS: Yes, completely. It looked like we almost had a deal with Magma group to save the team – it had almost been signed. Everyone thought it was a really good idea, including Honda – it looked like we were going to be able to take a massive step forwards. But then at the last minute Magma pulled out. It was so sudden – we couldn’t really do anything. At that time we were really short of funds. I don’t know any more detail, but it was such a shame that we had built up this thing over two and a half years, and then we just had to stop.Have you been in touch with Anthony Davidson [fellow Super Aguri driver] since the collapse?TS: I haven’t actually spoken to Anthony since what happened. I would say that I fully understand his mind – it’s the same as mine. We’ve been together a long time, since British Formula 3 days, and I don’t need to cheer him up. I’d say that we don’t need a word.Of course, for the engineers and factory boys it’s different, and I’ve been in touch quite a lot to see what is happening. Fortunately Super Aguri had a really good reputation so a lot of the team members have gone to other teams. Motor racing is such a small world, I think I’ll be back working with them soon.So you’re still hoping to return to F1?TS: Yeah, it was such an unfortunate thing that I had to stop in the middle of the season and it’s a very difficult position to not be able to race. But I never give up, and I really want to get back into Formula One. If there’s any chance at all I won’t give up, and I’ll do everything possible to find a way back in. Hopefully very soon – but if not this year then in 2009. Have you been speaking to teams about a drive?TS: I’m still in touch with people, yes – but I can’t say more at this point. Would you consider a testing role, as you had with BAR in 2003?TS: If it could lead to a potential regular drive then obviously I would. But I want to concentrate on the racing side – it would need to be leading to a race drive. Failing that, will you race in other series?TS: Let me say that I don’t want to retire from F1, but I also don’t want to retire from racing. I don’t feel in myself that I’ve “done it” – I really want to show more. The fans are very supportive and so are my personal sponsors. I want to go back to more exciting racing for everyone who is supporting me. I feel I could drive better than ever because I have all the experience now. If there is no return to F1 then I will think about other racing then – but at the moment all I can do is think about F1. Do you actually watch the races?TS: Ha ha! It’s tough at the moment, but yes, I do. I live in Monte Carlo and that’s tough too. I didn’t want to go away for the weekend so I took the opportunity to actually go down to the paddock and meet people. It was my first official appearance since the Spanish Grand Prix. Obviously it’s very hard to watch Formula One, but at the same time I want to know what is happening… But no, I can’t watch as a fan at the moment. So we’ve not seen the last of you?TS: I hope not!

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