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Sato expects to stay put

Takuma Sato is confident he will keep his seat at BAR-Honda next year despite no announcement from the British squad over his future

Sato joined the team from Jordan in 2003 after signing a three-year deal. In his first year he was the team's test driver before stepping up to a full-time race seat this year. The Japanese driver believes he has done enough this year to convince BAR to hold on to his services for a further year.

"I'm very happy where I am and I'm expecting to be racing next year with BAR Honda," Sato said. "Originally I had a three-year contract, including one year testing and two year's racing of which this year is the first year. So we should be able to develop together next year as well.

"I don't know what the deadline is (for an announcement) but I'm sure this is no longer an issue."

It is likely that BAR will want to sort out its outstanding issue with second driver Jenson Button before it commits to any drivers for 2005. Should the Briton leave the team for Williams, though, Sato could find himself in a strong position for retaining his seat for the team is certain to opt for continuity. Sato himself certainly thinks so.

"We are concentrating on weekend by weekend and not thinking deeply about next year but we need some stability for the longer development so you just carry on what you're doing and extending it to next year," he said.

"Two weeks ago it (Button's announcement) was just shocking everybody, but we are really professional people, the atmosphere itself hasn't changed so we continue."

A number of drivers have been linked with BAR including McLaren's David Coulthard and test driver Anthony Davidson.

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