Sato Tight-Lipped on Future with New Team

Takuma Sato remained tight-lipped on the existence of the new Honda-supported team mooted for 2006 after rumours in Japan linked the outfit to former Formula One racer Aguri Suzuki

The Japanese driver, who will compete in his last race for BAR-Honda in China on Sunday, said his manager was contacted by the new team but refused to confirm or deny whether Suzuki was involved.

Sato is waiting until the deadline for the lodging of team entries in mid-November before he believes the project truly exists and said: "Until then, until I get a contract with them, I cannot really say anything.

"I got the contact through my manager Andrew Gilbert Scott after Brazil, it happened really quickly, I really didn't know after there, and we just kept the contact with them.

"I haven't spoken to anyone from the team, only to my manager, and also obviously Honda announced they would supply engines to the new team so I spoke to them about that, but none of the team members.

"The first step should be the entry for the 2006 season and from then onwards there will be an announcement from the team. After this weekend things will move rapidly and within a few weeks we could see some action, but I don't know when."

Sato refused to comment on the rumours in Japan but said he had no ability to reveal any of the people involved because that is up to the team that is developing the new project.

"Unless the team officially announce it I have no rights to say it because I haven't got a contract and I can't suddenly announce the team as suddenly existing yet," said Sato.

"With the new offer I had from the new team it is in some ways extremely exciting and to build it up together would be a very good option for me in 2006, but I also have other options."

Sato could not place a confidence level on the chances of him racing next year but said he is still in contact with the current teams on the grid, most likely Jordan, over the chances of a race drive in 2006.

"Whether it is the new team or a current team I am determined to race in 2006," said Sato. "I believe to me, my heart, says it is 100 percent likely but you never know until you get a contract.

"Even if the new team doesn't happen we are still in contact with the current teams and there is still a possibility for us. I have to choose the best option for me in 2006."

For now Sato is concentrating on enjoying his final race with BAR and after qualifying in 17th place with a heavy fuel load following a crash at the last race he is confident he can climb through the field for a good finish.

"I want to have a really good race with the team," said Sato. "The circumstances in qualifying were extremely tough for me, first out in qualifying, it was a bit slippery, but with this grid I think we can do something better tomorrow and I have some great memories with the team so I really want to have a good race."

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