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.