By: Ashley McCubbin
On paper, it hasn’t been a superb season for Takuma Sato with just two top-10’s in four races, and a best finish of sixth at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
But the box score ultimately does not tell the full tale, with Sato feeling they have encountered some bad luck, whether concerning strategy or mechanical failures.
“But I think Graham and I are working extremely together as we do always. I think the car performance is very similar on track,” Sato added. “Graham finishes where he should be. Hopefully we will the same situation, but it’s not. It’s only 20% of the race in the season so far.”
As Sato stated, his teammate Graham Rahal has found the consistency, with just one finish outside the top-seven including a season-best third at Texas Motor Speedway. Those results, combined with belief in the team, have Sato remaining comfortable and optimistic about the future.
“The important thing is, as Graham said, we have very strong engineering,” Sato explained. “The boys doing great job now. I have new engineer, Matt Greasley over Eddie Jones from last year, which takes some time to understand each other together, but the relationship is really good. He understand me. I understand him. Just matter of we talking about thousandths of seconds in this competitive world. Needs to be everything perfectly. It’s coming better for that.”
Being able to find consistency through the Month of May and beyond will be crucial, given the current competition right now in the NTT IndyCar Series. As Sato points out, Scott Dixon’s ability to run inside the top-five and win consistently is what led to him winning the championship last year.
“That’s what it takes – we all know that, very simple calculation. The question is how we do that,” he said. “Sometimes racing is difficult because being forced from other forces, parties and stuff like that. But be able to grab it when you really need it, that’s important. I guess it’s just head down, do our job, try to make car fast, try to make stronger all the time, just minimize mistake. That’s the thing.”
While there is lots of racing on the schedule, though, the focus right now is on the month ahead, and trying to repeat the performance which led Sato to winning the Indianapolis 500 last year.
“Although every single race shouldn’t be ignored, should be treated exactly the same as 500, reality is 500 is top of that,” Sato expressed. “We always concentrate 500 before the May. After we simply go into our best job possible.”