Sato secures future at BAR

Takuma Sato has secured his future at BAR next season on the back of the team's best ever finish in Formula 1

Sato secures future at BAR

The Japanese ace finished a strong fourth place in the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, just a few seconds behind team-mate Jenson Button, and boss David Richards all but admitted on Sunday evening that his performance was enough to convince the team to retain him.

Although Sato already has a contract in place for next season, the team does have break clauses that it can exercise if it wants to drop him. However, Autosport.com understands that the team is now convinced it does not need to do that - and a confirmation of his new deal may be made on his home ground at the Japanese Grand Prix.

"Taku's been very solid and he is improving all the time," said Richards. "The pressure has lifted a bit off his shoulders and he is starting to be comfortable now.

"I think that's the key to any great drivers' performance. I think they have got to feel confident in themselves and comfortable in the environment they are in."

When asked about the team's commitment to Sato, Richards said: "I think his performance [at Monza] is a pretty good indication. The contract is signed but it has a break clause in our favour.

"Often with a young driver they are very inexperienced and they make mistakes - you need to support them in that period. I would hope that the team has given him the support that he needed and we are now moving on to a new level.

"I have little doubt about it, even between now and the end of the season. I've always had the conviction that he has the ability to improve more than anyone else on the grid because of his lack of race experience. It's early days but certainly he's heading in the right direction."

The lack of confirmation about Button's future also means that retaining Sato is vital to maintaining some stability at the team. A decision on whether Button's contract with BAR is valid for next year will be made by F1's Contracts Recognition Board within the next few weeks.

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