No Lotus option for Sato
13 December 2009 – Takuma Sato's chances of grabbing a Lotus race seat for next season have been scuppered, according to his management. The Japanese driver, who is yet to return to Formula 1 since the demise of the Super Aguri team early in the 2008 season, had been tipped as a possible contender for a seat alongside Italy's Jarno Trulli.
With Lotus having revealed that its driver line-up will be confirmed on Monday, Pescara's Trulli is hot favourite for one drive due to his previous working relationships with team Technical Director Mike Gascoyne - indeed, the former Toyota driver has already been reported as having struck a 3-year deal with the Norfolk-based outfit.
After testing for Toro Rosso last season, the Italian squad eventually elected to run Sébastien Buemi as a rookie in 2009 alongside Sébastien Bourdais, who was later replaced by Jaime Alguersuari. Winter admits that the Lotus decision is a surprising one.
"We don't know what the criteria was," he continued, recognising the team's Malaysian ownership. "We thought he was a very strong contender - you don't get more Asian than Taku. We haven't given up. There's still a few seats open and we're trying to hunt them down but his options are running out, so we don't know if he's going to be in Formula 1 next year."