With a pair of top-five performances in two days, Takuma Sato and A.J. Foyt Racing were one of the top Honda runners over the two days of Verizon IndyCar Series testing at Barber Motorsports Park. He ended Tuesday and combined in fourth place.
One of the few full-season single-car teams in the series worked through a series of promising runs. Both in 2012 and 2013, albeit in warmer conditions in April for the race weekend, the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda has been a top-six qualifier at Barber (in 2013, a penalty knocked Sato from the Firestone Fast Six).
“It’s been a very productive two days,” he said post-Tuesday. “We’ve been unlucky in terms of the weather-it was wet in the morning so we didn’t run and the afternoon was cold so that won’t replicate for the race weekend. Nevertheless we did a lot of the test program that we wanted to do and saw how the car reacted. It was a very positive performance wise and the feedback. It’s been a good preparation and we are ready to go to St. Petersburg.”
Sato was one of the top starters to the 2013, with a front-row start at St. Petersburg, the aforementioned Barber qualifying effort and back-to-back podiums at Long Beach (his first win) and Brazil.
The only thing he’ll need to upgrade heading into St. Petersburg next week is his driver uniform, as the old IZOD IndyCar Series logo appears and will need to be swapped out for the new Verizon one.
Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost hopes to see sacked driver Daniil Kvyat return to Formula 1 in the near future, saying the Russian “deserves” a place on the grid.
Toro Rosso dropped Kvyat twice through the 2017 season due to poor form, with his final dismissal coming after the United States Grand Prix in October.
Kvyat is no longer part of Red Bull’s motorsport program and is exploring options both inside and outside of F1 for 2018, and Tost feels he could be energized by some time away before returning.
“I am still convinced that Daniil has a very high natural speed. He was sometimes even faster than Daniel Riccardo, but somehow last year and this year he couldn’t show the potential that is within him,” Tost told the official F1 website.
“He was involved in many incidents, but in his defence I also have to say that he had many reliability issues and that didn’t help build up confidence. Being the victim of too many incidents killed the performance he would have been able to show.
“Maybe a short break – to get organized again – and probably we will see Daniil back at his usual performance level with another team.
“Sometimes he was too aggressive at the beginning of the race. The first corner was his weak point. He wanted too much in the first hundred meters – success by any means!
“That puts you under pressure – unnecessary pressure – and that never works.
“I hope for him that he gets another chance, as I think he deserves to be in F1.”