Takuma Sato believes his chances of being on the IndyCar Series grid in 2022 are evenly split.
“Nothing we can say for sure,” he told RACER when asked about his future. “It is tricky (not knowing), but I’ve been here before. A couple of years ago it was also like this. At the moment it’s just 50/50, so it’s a difficult situation. But I’ll never give up.”
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The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner is widely expected to have his place at Rahal Letterman Lanigan taken by Jack Harvey. The team also appears to be looking elsewhere for a driver if its plans for a third car come to fruition, which means that the heavily Honda-aligned Sato’s hopes of continuing in the series full-time rest with Daly Coyne Racing. With Romain Grosjean bound for Andretti Autosport and Ed Jones not expected to return, both of the Coyne entries are open books for 2022. However, the expected deep competition for the seats, coupled with question marks over whether the No.51 car can maintain its recent competitiveness after chief engineer Olivier Boisson follows Grosjean to Andretti, means that the situation is far from simple for the popular Japanese veteran.
“There are a lot of things that affect what will happen,” Sato said. “The sponsorship is related; a lot of things within the environment are related. This season was tough. This is a very competitive series now, and this season was the first time I didn’t get a win, pole or podium for the team. I’d managed to do that for the other three seasons (with Rahal). But the No.30 boys did a fantastic job all year and I’m proud of them.”
Sato finished the Long Beach season-finale ninth after his strategy was derailed by timing of the later cautions. He currently has six career IndyCar victories, along with 14 podiums and 10 pole positions.