Sato, Matsuura, in Honda ’b’ team?

UPDATE #3 The Matsuura part of this rumor is downgraded to 'false' as he was announced yesterday as returning to the IRL with Aguri. He has been removed from our 2006 F1 Silly Season page above. 11/01/05 With this new Aguri F1 team headquartered in Tokyo and with Japanese Honda power, it's expected that this may be an all-Japanese team with IRL backmarker Kosuke Matsuura joining F1 veteran Takumo Sato as the team's drivers. F1 will then have their Team Japan, with a Team China, Team Russia (Midland), Team Germany (BMW), Team USA (Red Bull B team), etc all planned as F1 looks to mimic the A1GP team/country concept and snuff out the A1GP threat headed by Sheik Maktoum. They fooled Bernie Ecclestone once by downplaying what they would be, but then rolled out with a big splash that caught Ecclestone by surprise. No one fools Bernie twice. On Japanese TV later in the day, Bernie Ecclestone was interviewed, the Englishman promising to give the fledging team whatever support he can. Ecclestone then said that he would be "delighted to see the team enter F1 with an all-Japanese driver line-up", at which point Suzuki gave a wry smile. 10/21/05 Takuma Sato is a man in demand at the moment in F1 circles, despite his somewhat erratic driving in recent months. The former BAR driver had an awful season which ended up in a flurry of accidents, penalties and unforced errors. But it seems that Honda is keen for Takuma to stay in F1 and he has an offer to drive for the much-vaunted Honda B team, which is currently being put together by Aguri Suzuki. If that materializes – and our understanding is that the only thing in the way of that is the practical difficulties involved in building a car in the time available – Sato and Anthony Davidson will be the team's drivers. Both men have also been on the shopping list of Midland F1 but there appears to be one slight problem in this as Midland wants money. Takuma's principal backer is Honda and so it is not very likely that they will pay for him to race in a Toyota car, although it might come to that if Suzuki's team does not make it. The team has until November 15 to file an entry. Grandprix.com 10/16/05 Takuma Sato will be part of an all-Japanese formula one line-up at the mysterious second Honda powered team next season. That's the latest gossip in the Shanghai paddock, with speculation putting Sato next to current IRL driver Kosuke Matsuura, 26, who is part of the 'Super Aguri' race program. ''I have no right to say anything,'' Sato told Reuters in China. ''I can't suddenly announce a team that doesn't exist yet.''

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