Jordan Announce Sato Deal

Japanese driver Takuma Sato has signed a two-year deal with Jordan, the team announced on Wednesday, at a press conference in Tokyo.

Jordan Announce Sato Deal

Japanese driver Takuma Sato has signed a two-year deal with Jordan, the team announced on Wednesday, at a press conference in Tokyo.

Team owner Eddie Jordan confirmed that Sato would partner Italian Giancarlo Fisichella next season. The team will also have an option for an additional two years under the terms of the contract, Jordan said.

Sato, who became the first Japanese driver to win the British Formula Three title after a record 12th victory of the season at Silverstone last month, called the move a "dream chance" and vowed to justify Jordan's faith in him.

"I know there will be a lot expected of me on such a big stage and I know I can't afford mistakes. I will try to be a model professional and push myself to the limit," said the 24-year-old, who was also a test driver for the BAR-Honda team this season.

The news will be a major blow to veteran Jean Alesi, who will be driving for Jordan in his 201st grand prix at Suzuka on Sunday and who had hoped his close friend Jordan would keep him on next season.

"Lucky" Jordan

Jordan, meanwhile, said his team were "lucky" to secure the services of Sato, who will become the seventh Japanese driver to race in Formula One.

"Sato is unique in that he is the first Japanese driver to get where he is on his own absolute ability," he said. "There is no substitute for speed and talent. He has all the attributes of a potential world champion."

Jordan monitored Sato's progress closely this season after convincing the Tokyo-born driver to spend another year in F3 at the end of the 2000 season.

"We were also watching him when he was testing for BAR. He is quick in the wet and in the dry and has a passion and commitment that you should not underestimate," said Jordan.

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Sato signs two-year Jordan race deal

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