Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help
---------------
---------------
CHOOSE A SPORT
RELATED BBC SITES
Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK
Sato replaces Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve
BAR have confirmed that Takumo Sato will replace former world champion Jacques Villeneuve as Jenson Button's team-mate next season.

Villeneuve has been with BAR since its inception in 1999, although his time with the team has been marked by a series of disappointments.

Sato, who made his Grand Prix debut at Jordan in 2002, has spent this season as BAR's official test driver.

The 2001 British Formula Three champion has the backing of engine manufacturer Honda, who were keen to see a Japanese driver given his chance in F1.

David Richards, BAR team principal, said: "The team very much appreciates Jacques Villeneuve's commitment over the past five years.

"There comes a time in all relationships where you have to move on.

"Some people think it was a pre-determined decision taken a long time ago but I can contradict that completely.

"It came after long debate and the decision was taken internally.

"However, as his contract with the team has come to an end, we believe this is the appropriate time to refresh the driver line-up.

"We welcome Takuma as Jenson's team-mate for 2004. He has done an excellent job for us in testing this year and has confirmed our long-held belief that he has enormous potential.

"Takuma is widely regarded as a very fast driver and he has had a meteoric rise to Formula One. When he drove for Jordan in 2002 he had just four years' prior racing experience and during that first season we saw flashes of brilliance, which he underlined with an impressive performance in the Japanese Grand Prix last year.

Tamuka Sato
This is what I have been working hard all year to achieve
Tamuka Sato
"After a further year of testing with BAR in 2003, we firmly believe that he deserves the opportunity to translate his natural speed into consistent race performances.

"With Jenson moving into his fifth season in Formula One and his second with BAR, he will provide the counter-balance of experience alongside the fresh enthusiasm of Takuma.

"A young and hungry driver line-up is essential for us to move closer to achieving our Championship ambitions."

A delighted Takuma Sato commented: "Of course, I am extremely happy to be confirmed as race driver for BAR next year.

"This is what I have been working hard all year to achieve and now that the decision is made I am looking forward to proving myself again in the team next year.

"A year out of racing has been tough for me, but I am confident that the work we have done this year in testing has been extremely valuable in helping me and the team become a strong partnership.

"I have built good relationships with many people in the team this year and feel very positive that together we can be successful next season.

"Now, of course, I can't wait to start the build-up to the Australian Grand Prix in March."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"BAR say it was time to refresh the driver line-up"



JAPANESE GRAND PRIX

SCHUMACHER MAKES HISTORY

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

GET INTO F1

EVERY TEAM ANALYSED
 

EACH DRIVER PROFILED
 


SEE ALSO
Villeneuve pays price for mistakes
06 Oct 03  |  Formula One
Villeneuve criticises BAR
04 May 03  |  Formula One


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs

MMIX

Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport