Sato Suffers from Viral Infection

Takuma Sato will be absent from the Malaysian Grand Prix due to a viral infection, his team BAR Honda said

Sato Suffers from Viral Infection

Sato was forced to withdraw from the Grand Prix on advice of the medical team at Sepang, after he suffered from high fever since yesterday. Further tests today revealed he was suffering from a viral infection.

"I am obviously extremely disappointed that I have had to retire from the Malaysian Grand Prix - a race that I have prepared extremely hard for," Sato said in a team statement. "Having discussed my condition with the medical staff and the team, I accept their advice that it is not sensible for me to take part in such a physically demanding race.

"I would like to take this opportunity to wish my teammate Anthony Davidson well as he steps in for me for the rest of the weekend. I have now been advised to get plenty of rest and look forward to getting well again in time to be back in the car in Bahrain."

Davidson, who will be racing tomorrow in a Grand Prix for he first time since 2002, extended his best wishes to Sato and added: "Despite the circumstances, I am very much looking forward to making my race debut for BAR Honda here at Sepang. Malaysia is an extremely tough race for the regular drivers, so I know tomorrow will be a big challenge for me.

"However, my third driver role means I have to be prepared for times like these and I feel fit enough and mentally prepared to take over in the car. I have completed a lot of laps in free practice this morning and am happy with my times and the car balance, so I have a good starting point and will give it everything I've got for the team tomorrow."

BAR boss Nick Fry said the switch was not the ideal situation for the team to be in.

"Switching drivers at this point in the weekend is obviously far from ideal, but Taku's condition makes this the only sensible course of action," Fry said. "We are disappointed for him and hope he recovers well.

"Nonetheless, we are extremely fortunate to have Anthony Davidson on stand-by. He takes his role as third driver very seriously and is always race-fit and prepared for times such as this. It will be a tough challenge for him in these hot and humid conditions, but he has made a very good start to his race preparation and I know he will do an admirable job for us tomorrow."

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