Sato makes Andretti Autosport switch for 2017

by Paul Hensby

Takuma Sato will remain in the Verizon IndyCar Series for 2017 after the Japanese racer was finally confirmed in the fourth seat at Andretti Autosport on Friday.

Sato replaces Carlos Muñoz in the #26 Honda-powered machine, with the Colombian already having moved to AJ Foyt Racing, the team Sato had raced for since 2013 up until the end of 2016.

Previously, he had raced for both KV Racing Technology and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the championship having spent prior to that a number of years in Formula 1 with Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri, all with Honda backing.

“I am extremely excited that we were able to work out a deal with Michael and Andretti Autosport,” said Sato. “With Honda an integral part of Andretti Autosport, it seemed like a great fit.

“The team has proven year after year that they are ultra-competitive 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.”

Team Owner Michael Andretti has welcomed Sato to the team, where he will join Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi, and believes the one-time race winner can help the team grow both on and off the track in 2017.

“I think joining the team will be a new and positive opportunity for Takuma,” said Andretti. “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.

“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.” 

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