Sato to Rahal team (2nd Update)

Sato back to the Rahal team
Sato back to the Rahal team

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

09/01/17 “Sato's management basically had made up their minds that they were leaving (for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)," a frustrated Michael Andretti told The Indianapolis Star this week in an exclusive interview. “To this moment, I don’t understand the move. They never even gave me a chance to come back and figure out what I could do to keep Takuma here. The whole thing was a little unfair."

"It’s done," he said. “It’s in their contract that they can’t say anything to you guys, but we can. It’s done."

“He’s been an amazing addition to the team," Alexander Rossi told The Indianapolis Star on Wednesday. “He’s awesome. I think he’s really proven what he’s capable of in this championship, and he didn’t necessarily always have the chance to show that. … He was a perfect fit here. So we’re definitely going to miss him."

Andretti, too, is saddened to be losing Sato, whom he thought would have thrived in his second season with the team.

“He really fit in with this team well," Andretti said. “He was starting to gel. … We really enjoyed having him as part of the team. Obviously he won the Indy 500 for us, so it’s disappointing he won’t be defending his title for us."

Our 2018 IndyCar Silly Season page has been updated.

08/26/17 We assumed so on our 2018 IndyCar Silly Season page weeks ago and now Racer hears that reigning Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato is expected to leave Andretti Autosport at the end of the season to rejoin Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing because Andretti is switching to Chevy engines next year, also per our Silly Season page.

Multiple sources have told RACER the 40-year-old Japanese driver, who drove for RLLR in 2012, would join Graham Rahal in 2018 as part of an expanded two-car Honda program.

Asked Saturday at Gateway, Bob Rahal told RACER's Robin Miller: "I'm working on a second car but I have nothing to report at this time."

With the anticipated switch from Andretti to Rahal, Sato’s departure could also indicate which direction Michael Andretti is taking his team on the engine manufacturer front.

"I've still not made up my mind," said Andretti, who along with team manager Rob Edwards met with Honda officials at Gateway.

Asked if he will know by the season finale at Sonoma, he replied: "I hope so. We better have one by then."

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