Andretti Autosport announced on Friday that former Formula One driver Takuma Sato has joined the four time Verizon IndyCar Series champions for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Sato, who drove for AJ Foyt Racing from 2013 – 2016 was replaced at the end of the year when AJ Foyt Enterprises decided to replace both of their drivers. Jack Hawksworth and Sato with Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz.
In affect Andretti Autosport and AJ Foyt Racing have done a direct swap with their drivers with Munoz heading to Foyt with Sato joining Ryan Hunter Reay, Marco Andretti and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi at the team. Sato will drive the No.26 Honda powered Dallara.
Speaking about the announcement, Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti commented by saying:
I think joining the team will be a new and positive opportunity for Takuma. “He’s not yet had the chance to be part of a larger team where the drivers collaborate; our four drivers and team of engineers working together has bred success for us in the past and has helped many drivers develop on track. Takuma has strong racing experience and we are looking forward to providing a team atmosphere where he can continue to grow, develop and be successful.
Andretti went on to say:
One of the things I am looking forward to the most about working with Takuma is his open personality. He is very friendly and encouraging to work with, his personality will be a strong addition to the team and I think he will work very well alongside Ryan, Alexander and Marco.
Speaking about his new team, Takuma Sato who since joining the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2010, has driven for KV Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and AJ Foyt Racing commented by saying:
I am extremely excited that we were able to work out a deal with Michael and Andretti Autosport. “With Honda an integral part of Andretti Autosport, it seemed like a great fit. The team has proven year after year that they are ultracompetitive on all types of circuits. Particularly the speed that team has shown in recent years at the Indy 500 were just incredible. I am also very impressed on how aggressively they have addressed their needs for 2017, and am really looking forward to working with my new environment and can’t wait to get started.
Sato’s confirmation at Andretti Autosport for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season means that their are only a couple of seats available with Ed Carpenter Racing yet to confirm their driver for the No.20 alongside Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand, Chip Ganassi Racing have yet to confirm their fourth driver while KVSH Racing have yet to confirm their plans for 2017.