Kimiya Sato believes F1 Sauber test will boost Auto GP title hopes

Auto GP championship challenger Kimiya Sato believes the experience of testing for Sauber in Formula 1's young driver test last month will boost his title prospects

Kimiya Sato believes F1 Sauber test will boost Auto GP title hopes

The 23-year-old Japanese lost his long held advantage in the drivers' standings after a first-lap retirement at Mugello last month, although he still shares the points lead and is behind Sergio Campana only on countback.

But Sato believes his testing experience will be of benefit as he expects it to put him at ease for the second half of this year's Auto GP campaign.

"Definitely I'm going to be more relaxed behind the wheel of my Auto GP car because it will be like a step back," said Sato.

"In addition, the speed reference for me has changed completely so I know that I can push further, including optimising the brakes after trying the carbon brakes used in F1.

"I'm expecting a very challenging [second half of the year] because I'm fighting with some top-level drivers and teams.

"I know it won't be easy but I'm going to do my best to put everything together, taking the best out of my car and winning the title for Euronova."

Sato believes circuit knowledge - he claimed a reverse-grid at Silverstone before making his F1 debut at the Northamptonshire venue - assisted his acclimatisation with Sauber.

"The whole experience at Silverstone has been sensational," he added - "everything is different there, another world compared to what a driver experiences in his previous career.

"[But I knew the] key reference points of the track, as we raced there a month-and-a-half before.

"From a technical perspective, Auto GP was the first high-powered car I had ever driven and that definitely bridged the gap from F3 to F1.

"The lack of power-steering also prepared me for the physical effort needed because a Formula 1 car is much lighter to drive."

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Series Auto GP
Author Peter Mills