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Monday, August 18, 2008

Sato for STR in ’09?


Andrew Gilbert-Scott, manager for Takuma Sato, says Formula One remains the goal for the Japanese driver, out of a race drive since the demise of Super Aguri.

“Formula 1 is all we are thinking about," Gilbert-Scott told GPWeek. “It is true to say that we have had interest and some good offers from teams in other championships, but Formula 1 is what we are concentrating on. It's where Takuma deserves to be, and naturally we are talking to a number of people about 2009.”

To that end it his emerged Sato turned down offers from America and endurance racing.

Opportunities are few this year, with many teams looking to maintain current driver lineups. One place with at least one open seat, however, is Toro Rosso, with Sebastian Vettel’s promotion to parent Red Bull and Sebastien Bourdais on thin ice.

STR bigwigs Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger have expressed their desire in the past to team up a veteran with a youngster. Should Bourdais not be retained for 2009, STR might be interested in an experienced driver like Sato to team up with a Sebastian Buemi, Bruno Senna or Karun Chandhok.

Much would depend on Dietrich Mateschitz, of course, and if the Red Bull chief would want a driver from the Red Bull stable in the STR lineup. A benefit for Sato, besides his experience, would be his marketability in Japan, a market Mateschitz covets.

The other question would be if Sato would bring with him Honda engines. With the demise of Super Aguri, Honda did make noise about wanting to supply engines to another team.

Ferrari engines aren’t cheap. An experienced driver, marketable in Japan, bringing a discounted engine to a cash-strapped team, might be the combination that puts Sato in Bourdais’s seat in 2009.

Photo: http://www.saf1.co.jp

Alonso looks forward to second home race

Just a few years ago F1 didn’t even have a nationwide television contract is Spain. The annual Spanish Grand Prix was a brief distraction from the world of two-wheeled excitement. Now, thanks in no small part to double world champion Fernando Alonso, Spain has two races on the calendar.

That’s a fact the Spaniard has not lost site of, and Alonso is eager to show what he can do on the new street circuit in Valencia this weekend.

“I’m very happy to be driving at home for a second time; it’s always a special feeling to race in front of my countrymen and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said, ITV reports.

Alonso is coming off of a fourth in Hungary, as Renault, after a difficult start, has started to show a bit of progress.

“We’re certainly continuing to improve, which is very encouraging,” Alonso said. “We were on the pace in Hungary, the car felt good and we showed we are still moving forward and that we will fight hard to finish in fourth place in the championship.”

Alonso is hopeful the new street circuit might provide Renault with an opportunity to pull a surprise.

“As a new circuit, I think it gives the drivers a chance to show what they can do, but I am not under any illusions as I expect all the drivers to be quick,” he said. “Whatever happens, I will give my maximum for this second grand prix in Spain.”

Another win for Glock

Timo Glock quickly took the lead after starting 10th of 11 drivers to win the Toyota Race of Legends at the Rolex Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca over a field of veteran drivers and one very happy charity auction winner.

Jean-Pierre Jarier took the early lead from F1 and Indy vet Eddie Cheever, but thought better of giving the high-flying Glock too much trouble.

“I was the leader until Timo came up to me…very hard way of driving, sideways and all. I preferred to let him go,” he told SpeedTV.com.

For his part, Glock was excited to have the opportunity to race against some of the legends of motorsport and do a little for charity.

“When I drove behind [Jarier] I could see he knew what he was doing and was really quick on the steering wheel,” said Glock. “I just had some tricks to catch him up and pull away a bit. It’s just so much fun with these guys. It’s just good fun.”

Glock won a purse of $25,000, which goes to the Children’s Hospital of Frankfurt.

And speaking of charity, it was the chance of a lifetime for vintage racer Bruce Canepa, who won the chance to take part in the race by being highest bidder in a charitable auction. He finished seventh of 11, but it was a rough ride to get there.

“I think I’m ready for Baja now,” he told competitor Danny Sullivan, a veteran of the famous off-road race.

Johnny Herbert, Derek Bell, Patrick Tambay, John Watson, Alan Jones, Alain de Cadenet were the other participants. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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