Sato ‘surprised’ by Istanbul lockout

Mon, 5 May 2008, 03:25

Takuma Sato on Monday said he is “very surprised” that his formula one team has been locked out of the Istanbul paddock just days ahead of the Turkish grand prix.

As the struggling team’s chief Aguri Suzuki prepares to put Weigl’s last-minute rescue package to the Honda board in Tokyo on Tuesday, Japanese driver Sato revealed that he does not know if he will be able to race this weekend.

With crucial Honda support, Super Aguri was put together ahead of the 2006 season, largely to accommodate the hugely popular in Japan Sato, 31, who had been dropped by the manufacturer’s works team.

He said he doesn’t know why his teammates have been prevented from entering the Otodrom venue.

“I understood that no decision has been made by Honda yet and that a decision will be made in the next few days about whether we will be able to race or not,” Sato explained.

He confirmed speculation that, following the collapse of the Magma deal, the Leafield based team had only been able to compete at Barcelona with Honda’s “great support”.

Sato admitted: “For Aguri-san and the rest of the team management to try to find a new solution in a week is almost impossible.”

He however urged the Honda board to accept Weigl Group’s alternative proposal, despite Honda F1 CEO Nick Fry’s apparent reluctance about the deal.

“I met them at the Spanish GP and they have the great passion to get the team over the current difficulties,” Sato said.

“They do not seem to be scared by the challenge and in that way I would say that they fit our philosophy well and it would be a great partner for the team.”

He admitted that Honda, Super Aguri’s creditor and supplier that is reportedly owed about $100m by the team, has been put in a “difficult position” by the Magma collapse.

“But I hope they will be able to continue the fighting spirit and give the team some more time to get the new investment in place,” Sato continued.

“We have shown over the past two years how efficient we can be as a very little team and given the chance and support I believe we can be very competitive.

“We need Honda support more then ever now and I am just hoping that they will be able to find a satisfactory solution. Honda are famous for their Racing Spirit and I am sure this will not desert them now,” Sato said.

You may also like