IndyCar Driver Preview: Takuma Sato

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#14 Takuma Sato

  • Team: A.J. Foyt Racing
  • Engine: Honda
  • Sponsors: ABC Supply
  • 2012: 14th Place, 2 Podiums

2012 WRAP: Sato’s 2012 with Bobby Rahal’s team was a roller coaster. The highs reached remarkable heights but for only short durations; the lows came from three separate last-lap crashes that cost him the result. His last-lap attempt on Franchitti at Indianapolis’s Turn 1 before losing control and crashing was noble and ballsy, if unsuccessful. Additional moments of contact while around Hunter-Reay at Long Beach and Fontana also negated would-be top-fives. He did score two deserved podiums (second at Edmonton, third in Brazil), but it was largely a season spent asking what could have been.

2013 OUTLOOK: Now on the move to A.J. Foyt’s team, Sato has been quick in pre-season testing as he adjusts to his third different team (KV, Rahal) in as many seasons. The knock on Sato has always been his consistency, since his speed isn’t really questioned. Still, that’s an area where he could massively improve this year. With the midfield often separated by only hundredths of a second, Sato started in the top 10 only three times a year ago. Establish chemistry within this squad, and maybe a podium or two will follow, if not his first win.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”