Takuma Sato, two-time winner of the Indy 500, absent from Rahal for 2022
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato’s IndyCar future was uncertain on Tuesday after Rahal Letterman Lanigan said the Japanese driver would not return to the squad next year.
Sato has raced in IndyCar since 2010 after seven seasons in Formula 1. The Tokyo native has driven for Rahal for the past four years, winning four races including the Indy 500 in 2020.
It was a great time and so many memories, Sato said in a video posted by RLL on Twitter.
Sato also won the Indy 500 in 2017 driving Andretti Autosport, his only season with this team.
Sato has six career wins, but his two Indy 500 wins make him one of IndyCar’s most desirable drivers, even at 44. But sponsorship will play a role in what Sato leads and where in 2022.
Team RLL owner Bobby Rahal has said for several months that Sato’s future with the team depends on funding. Sato also drove for Rahal in 2012.
It has been a privilege and an honor to have Takuma with us twice over the years. We appreciate the commitment and energy he brought to the track every day and to everything we do as a team, Rahal said in a statement. I have always enjoyed working with Takuma a lot. His dedication and commitment not only to his craft, but also to the team was unmistakable.
I would like to think that we will always be friends because we just enjoy each other’s company.
Sato could try to land another full-time race possibly with Dale Coyne Racing, who must replace Romain Grosjean after his move to Andretti or just focus on securing a competitive seat for next year’s Indy 500. .
Sato led two seasons for Jimmy Vasser when he first moved to the United States, and four seasons for AJ Foyt Racing, for which he earned his first career IndyCar victory in 2013 at Long Beach.
Sato’s status in IndyCar was among the end-of-season questions as drivers scrambled for 2,022 seats. Rahal is expanding to add a third car next year which should go to Jack Harvey, who has told Meyer Shank Racing he will not be returning. Harvey has already been replaced by Simon Pagenaud.
Another Rahal car has yet to be announced, but the team have tried three different drivers during the season and Oliver Askew has entered the last three races of the year. Santino Ferrucci drove the car in five races, finishing with two sixth places, but told The Associated Press in the Long Beach season finale last month that he was no longer in contention for the seat.
Graham Rahal is the anchor for the RLL team, which went winless in 2021. He finished seventh in the standings, while Sato was 11th. Only Graham Rahal has scored a podium for the team this season.
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