FORMULA 3 GRAND PRIX
TAKUMA SATO Q&A
SIGNED A FORMULA 1 CONTRACT FOR NEXT YEAR, YOU MADE SURE THAT
YOU COULD RACE AT MACAU. HOW DOES IT FEEL NOW YOU ARE FINALLY HERE?
The feeling is exactly the same as all the other drivers - I am happy
here in Macau and I am desperate to win this race. In my mind there is
absolutely no way that I am thinking about F1 at this stage. I am looking
forward to starting my F1 programme with testing in January, but now I
concentrating on my last race in F3 here in Macau. It will be fun.
DO YOU FEEL ANY
EXTRA PRESSURE ON YOU THIS WEEKEND BECAUSE YOU ARE THE BIG
People are saying a lot of things about me because I am a Formula 1 driver
racing at Macau, but honestly it doesn't add any pressure at all. Of course
there is pressure because it is racing, but there is no more than was
in the British Formula 3 Championship or in the other major international
race at the Marlboro Masters this year. It should be quite good.
IS IT A DISTRACTION
KNOWING THAT YOUR FUTURE IN FORMULA 1 IS GUARANTEED?
Although I have got my deal for Formula 1, I am still a Formula 3 driver.
know in the past some F3 champions have avoided coming to Macau because
people expect them to win and if you lose then many bad things can be
But that is not in my thoughts. I just want to race, that is the most
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH
TO THIS YEAR'S RACE AFTER CRASHING OUT AT THE FIRST
CORNER LAST YEAR?
Last year was a bit different because the first session was completely
and the first time I had a dry car was for qualifying. For me that was
difficult. In the race maybe I moved up a step a bit too early and maybe
was pushing too hard. I braked too late for the first corner and then
the barrier. This year I will be more relaxed and I will be
gradually building myself up, working on the set-up in first practice
should be okay.
WHO DO YOU SEE
AS YOUR MAIN CHALLENGERS FOR VICTORY HERE?
I think everybody can fight for the win here. But I can see [French F3
champion] Ryo Fukuda with Saulnier being very competitive and I think
F3 champion] Benoit Treluyer with the Dome Project team will be very,
quick. But for them it is the first time here, although they have been
at all the tracks in Japan.
IS IT FAIR TO SAY
THAT UNTIL YOU SIGNED YOUR JORDAN RACE DEAL YOU WERE NOT
THAT WELL KNOWN IN JAPAN?
I was not as famous in Japan because I hadn't raced in Japan. I kept
sending information to Japan magazines and onto my website and slowly
following began. People are more interested in me this year and we have
built up together. Now it is different and everybody is hoping that we
be successful. They are looking forward to another good performance from
me - and so am I. I am excited about racing at Macau and excited about
racing in F1.
YOU DON'T WANT
TO THINK ABOUT FORMULA 1 MUCH YET, BUT WHAT ARE YOUR TARGETS
FOR NEXT YEAR?
Of course my main aim is to do a good job in Formula 1, but I think the
most important thing is to reach the same level as my team-mate Giancarlo
Fisichella by the end of next year.
YOU SEEM TO BE
SO HAPPY AT THE MOMENT, ARE YOU ALWAYS LIKE THIS?
Yes. I am so excited at the moment. Racing here in Macau and being a Formula
1 driver next year is my dream. Driving is a pleasure every time I get
behind the wheel. Even when I am in a road car driving for 20 miles there
a big smile on my face. Racing is exactly the same - but with a bit more