Grapevine: Sato Linked with Red Bull Junior

A wave of criticism from fans and media that Honda have been on the receiving end of since it became clear that Takuma Sato was out of BAR could act as a spur to make them try and secure the Japanese driver's Formula One future

Grapevine: Sato Linked with Red Bull Junior

That is the latest theory circulating around the paddock as the fall-out from the Jenson Button situation continues to reverberate.

The suggestion is that Honda's chiefs have not taken kindly to a feeling of resentment from their home fans and press about Sato's treatment - and the fact that their former golden boy is now in talks with the Toyota-powered Jordan team has further rung alarm bells in Tokyo.

One bizarre scenario that is now being talked about is of Honda making moves to land Sato a seat at the new Red Bull (Minardi) team next year, as a precursor to a future technical partnership with the energy drinks giant.

There is believed to be some reluctance within Red Bull to hand American Scott Speed a full-time race drive next year - and it is more likely that he will become the junior team's third driver. That would leave a vacant seat, which Sato would easily be able to slot into.

A technical tie-up between the engine manufacturer and team is not at all inconceivable, with Honda having been in talks with Red Bull earlier this year about an engine supply deal for their main team for 2006 before they eventually opted for Ferrari customer power-units.

A Honda deal would certainly give the Red Bull junior team stability for the future.

How far Honda are willing to push for such a deal remains to be seen, but with the company's chiefs reportedly receiving angry emails from Sato fans, and the Formula One circus about to arrive at Suzuka, which will be packed with Sato's supporters, action sooner rather than later would make sense.

In the meantime, Sato's management are still pushing hard to go it alone and secure their own deals. An approach to Williams is understood to have been made, while a deal at Jordan certainly makes sense for a lot of parties - and even Bernie Ecclestone is believed to want to make it happen.

The sport's commercial boss is in talks with Japanese television channel Fuji TV about a new contract - and the value of that deal will be dependent on whether the company can count on Sato's continued presence on the grid.

Such a financial incentive from Ecclestone could make him pull a few strings with Jordan's chief Colin Kolles - and their engine supplier Toyota, who would love for Ecclestone to add a race at Fuji onto the calendar and could be persuaded to ease Sato's move to the team.

All of this would act as yet another incentive for Honda to make sure that arch rivals Toyota do not come out of the Sato situation as the blue-eyed boys in Japan.

shares
comments
McLaren Aim to Dominate Japan, China

Previous article

McLaren Aim to Dominate Japan, China

Next article

Renault: Reliability Key to Teams' Title

Renault: Reliability Key to Teams' Title
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021