Sato Needs to Keep Scoring Points

Takuma Sato can still hope to race for BAR next year but the Formula One team say he must score points regularly from now on

Sato Needs to Keep Scoring Points

The Japanese took his first point of the year in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, 13th round of the Championship, by finishing eighth.

However, the expected signing of Brazilian Rubens Barrichello from Ferrari, yet to be confirmed by either team but widely taken for granted in the paddock, has left a question mark over Sato's future.

If BAR's ideal line-up for 2006 is indeed Briton Jenson Button, who is trying to extricate himself from a contract with Williams, and Barrichello then that would leave no room for the entertainingly erratic Sato.

Team boss Nick Fry said that the Japanese driver still had plenty to play for, however.

"It (Sato's job) hasn't gone already, far from it. Takuma needs to put in decent performances for the rest of the year but the door is still open," he said at the Hungaroring.

"I don't think any driver's position is protected," added Fry, whose team is 45 percent owned by Japanese carmaker Honda.

"We've got to have two drivers that can regularly score points, it's as simple as that. Today Taku did a good job but we're looking for him to do that in every race."

Announcement Soon

Fry hoped the situation would become clearer soon.

"Obviously we'd like to sort out the Jenson situation as soon as possible. That's clearly difficult, but hopefully we can announce something regarding drivers in the next month or so," he said.

If that announcement, maybe before the Turkish Grand Prix on August 21, concerns Barrichello then Sato would still have a chance if Williams force Button's hand.

He faces strong competition for the seat, however.

"Lots of people have expressed interest in coming to the team, which is really very encouraging," said Fry. "I think they can all see the opportunity here just as Jenson can. As far as specifics, I can't say any more.

"We have always said we will win the Championship and we've said that with a straight face. We know it's going to be difficult, it's not going to happen tomorrow but we're convinced it will happen.

"Otherwise we wouldn't be bothering to compete."

BAR want Button to stay, as does the 25-year-old, but Williams have said they will not release the Briton from the contract he agreed with them last year.

"We'd like him here but it's not really within our control," said Fry.

"It's between Jenson and Williams and the two contractees need to sort something out. We've made clear that we'd love to have him here for the long run, but we can't do a lot more than that," he added.

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