Sato admits money crucial to 2009 seat
(GMM) Takuma Sato has joined Sebastien Bourdais in admitting that the size of their respective sponsorship portfolios will play a major role in determining which contender will race with the Toro Rosso team in 2009.
With the Swiss youngster Sebastien Buemi almost certainly guaranteed a seat for 2009, the identity of his teammate is still unknown, as incumbent Bourdais and the Japanese veteran Sato test again with the Red Bull-owned team this week.
It is believed that Sato, 31, is the more heavily backed of the pair.
"I have my money," he acknowledged to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. "My management has worked feverishly to find sponsors."
Japan has not been immune from the global economic crisis, but it is understood Red Bull also sees employing Sato as a way to promote the energy drink in his native market.
Sato, with 93 grands prix under his belt, insists his drive is still far from guaranteed.
"When you are talking about the sums that are applicable for formula one, only large companies are relevant," he explained, "and their decisions are not always made quickly.
"I can only hope that time does not run away from me," Sato added.
He admits that presenting an impressive financial package to Toro Rosso could shift the scales in his favor.
"Private teams such as Toro Rosso are in the present situation under even more pressure than the manufacturers, so for them every sponsor is a gift," Sato said.