Ford deal leaves Sato in doubt

The announcement of a new three-year Ford Cosworth engine supply for Jordan (see separate story) has obviously raised questions about Takuma Sato's position with the team

Ford deal leaves Sato in doubt

Sato was a Honda protégé and while Jordan had Honda power, his position with the team looked relatively secure. Now, however, pressure from sponsors could come into play. Deutsche Post, for example, is keen to have Heinz-Harald Frentzen back in a Jordan, while Benson & Hedges are thought to be keen to have a Briton on board.

Reacting to the Ford news on Sunday in Hungary, Sato's manager Andrew Gilbert-Scott said: "It doesn't change anything for us. We have a contract with Eddie. It's a two-year fixed contract with no options on either side. We need that because I wouldn't have done a one year deal for a new driver and this year we haven't had all the luck go our way.

"Eddie still says he wants to keep Taku for next year. He's fast and I'd like to think that Eddie would like to see the return on his investment. Obviously I know all the rumours, and there's a lot of them, but in all honesty it changes nothing from our point of view. We have always said that Taku is not tied to Honda and now perhaps people will start to believe it. The association is important for us and has been very valuable, but if Taku didn't have a Honda it wouldn't be the end of the world.

"From my point of view the market place is getting smaller, which is difficult. There are now four less seats than there were unless Arrows comes back, and my main priority is to make sure Taku is racing next year. I think everyone realises that he deserves to be doing that. I want to get the best possible deal for him but as far as I'm concerned we have a contract with Jordan."

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Jordan's delight at three-year Ford deal

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