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Q&A: Takuma Sato.


19/05/2006
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Takuma Sato talks about his season to date since joining the Super Aguri F1 team, the new qualifying format, his hopes for the rest of the year and much, much more...



Q:
Takuma, what is life like for you at the Super Aguri F1 Team – are you happy?

Takuma Sato:
Of course very happy. It's a small team, but there is a great bond between all the guys - it is just like a family. Our approach to Formula One has been unique and this is a great moment, so even though we have had a tough time since the start, a lot of things are very encouraging and we are fully motivated so I am enjoying this new life.

Q:
What was your biggest challenge when you joined the team?

TS:
Perhaps the fact that the team had to be built almost from zero in a very short time. You need to find a certain number of people to create a team and I have been involved with the building process from the start, passing on my experience in Formula One. It was obviously a big challenge to get the team to Bahrain from our very late entry stage.

Q:
Were you surprised to see Super Aguri F1 Team fans in the grandstands at the opening races as it was a brand new team?

TS:
I was pleasantly surprised to see so many fans that had already made banners with the logos for the first race in Bahrain. I think that by the time we get to Suzuka we will have more support from the fans and because of this we really want to push to introduce the new car as soon as possible so we can race as a competitive team in front of our home crowd in Japan.

Q:
What are your thoughts on the new qualifying format?

TS:
It is very busy on the track during qualifying because all 22 cars are out on the track in the first 10 minutes, so it is difficult to find a good clear lap but at least we run with low fuel and new tyres which gives us a good feeling. Unfortunately we've never participated in session two and session three, where it is a little complicated but it is interesting.

Q:
...and the reintroduction of mid-race tyre changes?

TS:
I think that it's a good thing, for safety and also it makes it a more exciting challenge. Unfortunately, we have never had the opportunity to make a challenge for position with the tyre change as part of our race strategy, but we are learning a lot and preparing ourselves for the day that we become competitive. I think it's always good to mix things up in the race.

Q:
Do you think that it has made F1 racing more exciting for the fans?

TS:
I think so, really we have to ask the fans what they think, but I think ‘yes' it's made it more exciting and to be honest I'd love to join in the excitement as soon as possible!

Q:
And lastly, you have driven solid races in the opening rounds of the 2006 championship, what are your expectations – for yourself and the team – this season?

TS:
Well we set up the team with the target to get to the Bahrain Grand Prix and finish the race and we did it. Everything has to be taken one step at a time and of course as a driver you always want to finish in a higher position, but realistically I think we first need to finish each race every time and then we shall see what happens when we introduce the new car. Once we have the SA06 I would love to finish a race in the top 10.


 
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