Takuma Sato will test for Formula E, which could alter Foyt seat

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Takuma Sato will join fellow ex-Formula One driver Lucas di Grassi as a test and development driver for the new Formula E series. This news was announced at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday.

Sato’s ex-F1 team, Super Aguri, has also confirmed its participation in the championship that is set to begin in the fall of 2014. IndyCar squads Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing have also announced their intentions; Andretti team boss Michael Andretti seems bullish on the concept.

And this news is somewhat interesting from an IndyCar angle. Sato and Honda were close to being confirmed for 2014, per A.J. Foyt in a September conference call, for their second season together. But since that point, Sato tore up more race cars in Houston and Fontana as part of a ragged second half of the season, and a planned test at Sebring on Monday was canceled as the team was removed from the list.

Neither partner is confirmed yet for Foyt in 2014. Sato and Honda have been inextricably linked since Sato made his F1 debut with the Jordan-Honda team in 2002, and Super Aguri was also born after Sato was dropped by the Honda factory team prior to 2006. In brief, if there’s no Honda, there’s no Sato at Foyt in 2014.

The FE season may not start until September, but testing and development will need to occur in the months prior. That may limit Sato’s IndyCar availability on the whole.

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.