By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter
Years in IndyCar: 8
Laps led: 436
2016 Team: AJ Foyt Racing
2017 Team: Andretti Autosport
Takuma Sato is hitting the reset button for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Although Sato has performances of greatness in years prior, the 40-year-old from Tokyo, Japan ended last season 17th in the standings. He never reached the podium and scored two fifth place finishes at Long Beach and Toronto street circuits.
Other highlights were a ninth at Mid-Ohio after starting 20th as well as good qualifying performances at the Pocono and Texas ovals.
2017 sees Sato depart AJ Foyt Racing for Andretti Autosport.
The team is easily Sato’s best opportunity in his seven-year career in IndyCar. They boast four Verizon IndyCar Series Championships and four Indianapolis 500 wins in a 14-year span.
The powerhouse squad gives Sato a team that has a much deeper depth than he has ever had before. All four teams and drivers in the squad share information and aim for the best. Sato has an open personality and will be an asset to the team and the feedback from teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Alexander Rossi will be even more help.
He will be reunited with engineer Garrett Mothersead, whom he worked with at KV Racing from 2010-11. The team has made several engineering changes in the offseason to offset a disappointing 2016 season.
Andretti Autosport and Honda were the class of the field at Indy last year, so there is reason to believe that Sato can capitalize on that come the month of May.
The ex-Formula 1 competitor has proven that he can run good given the opportunity. Andretti Autosport can be the team that pushes him to that next level.
When you combine the depth of the team and the untapped potential that Sato has, 2017 could be a big year for both parties.