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GP Week : Issue 71
TAKUMA Sato has moved into prime position for a seat with the Lotus F1 team, following suggestions from Lotus'Technical boss Mike Gascoyne that the team is looking for two experienced drivers in 2010. "We are looking for two drivers with experience," Gascoyne told Autosport last week. "We are not looking for pay drivers or new drivers. We think that is very important for the team. "What is becoming clear to every one of the new teams is that we have gone from last to first of the new teams very rapidly. We are being seen as a serious entity. We have got quite a lot of interest, but we want two experienced drivers there." Top of the list is Jarno Trulli, who with Toyota's withdrawal is in need of a solid base for 2010 and has a good relationship with Gascoyne. Takuma Sato's name has also been linked with one of the Lotus seats, as his experience with Super Aguri places him in a perfect position to help a new squad. He has also driven a Lotus F1 car before -- an ex- Graham Hill 49B at Historic Monaco in 2002, pictured. "For the new teams I hope my experience could give them some clarity in overcoming problems that we had at Super Aguri," Sato told GPWeek. "We came from a low level with a small budget but we worked together and pulled out some great results. That was a really great exercise and a great experience and something that I hope I can bring to a new team. Certainly when we are speaking with new teams they are very aware of what we did at Super Aguri, and I am very grateful that the people who matter recognised the job that we did." Gascoyne's words seem to call an end to suggestions that Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy was in line for one of the team's race seats next season, although he may yet end up as the team's third driver. Sato 'back' to Lotus? USF1 Sporting Director Peter Windsor has slammed recent press reports suggesting that his team had not begun its crash testing and was on the verge of selling its place of the 2010 grid. With reports stating that USF1's position on the 2010 grid was looking shaky, Windsor told GPWeek that the truth could not be further from the rumours. "The report seemed to come out of Switzerland/Germany, the land of BMW Sauber," he told GPWeek. "A much-respected magazine (Auto Motor und Sport) informed its readers that we had not yet crash-tested any components and therefore had "zero" chance of making the grid in 2010. "The reality is that we have already (successfully) crash- tested several components and are right on schedule for more tests this month and in December. "Like all teams, we currently have our heads down and we're getting on with it. We're not spending every working minute telling the world exactly what we're doing. The question is why a magazine like this would be so inaccurate and careless after years of solid service. "Your guess is as good as mine ... and I have several (guesses, that is, most of which are related to the 14th team situation prior to Toyota's withdrawal). Anyway, thanks, guys, for actually taking the trouble to ASK us about the situation." Windor's reference to the crash testing question followed quotes which were attributed to Ross Brawn, stating that the new World Champion team boss was concerned that USF1 had not begun its tests. "If you look at the actual quotes attributed to Ross, it looks as though someone from the dreaded Auto, Moto und Sport said something along the lines of, 'if a team, or a new team, did no crash testing until the last possible moment would they be certain of racing in 2010?' to which Ross quite correctly replied 'it would be very difficult,' or words to that effect," Windsor explained. "Line Ross' supposed quotes up against a different (made- up) question -- ie, "If USF1 have no crash testing, etc, etc", and it reads very differently. "Of everything we are doing at USF1, Ross and everyone at Brawn from my perspective have been nothing but helpful and supportive, so I think the whole thing ends there. In fantasyland. "Meanwhile, back in the real world, we're re-furbishing some trucks we've just bought from Brawn..." Windsor also moved to rebuke claims that USF1 had voted against an intra-team agreement to not sell their spaces on the 2010 grid. "Not sure what this is about, either," he confirmed. "Along with Williams and several other teams, we expressed the view that F1 would be struggling to cope with 14 teams. "So far as I know, there has never been a vote about whether teams can be sold or not. I've never been present for such a vote, at any rate. "So, again, I have no idea what these guys are talking about. "As for USF1 Team, I can only repeat what Ken and I have been saying ever since we signed the Concorde Agreement: our slot is not for sale under any circumstances and we will be racing, and giving it 100 percent, from Bahrain onwards." USF1 boss rubbishes media reports F1 NEWS >> 10