Takuma Sato has moved to quell speculation linking him to a third driver position at either Red Bull Racing or Scuderia Toro Rosso this year, admitting that he is 'disappointed' not to have been able to 'come to an agreement' with one of the two teams.
The Japanese star has been out of work since Super Aguri F1 collapsed shortly into the 2008 campaign ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix at the beginning of May, but in the interim period he was linked firstly with a move to Renault – as a replacement for underperforming rookie Nelsinho Piquet – and latterly, and most prominently, Toro Rosso.
Indeed, the 32-year-old was tipped to gain the nod for the second seat at the Faenza-based concern in 2009 following a long winter of uncertainty, but the squad ultimately elected to retain the services of former multiple Champ Car king Sébastien Bourdais for a second consecutive season.
Following that, Sato's name was mentioned in connection with a third driver role at either STR or RBR. Discussions to that effect, he revealed, have now come to a close – but he nonetheless remains optimistic of returning to competitive action in the near future.
“I am no longer in negotiation with the Toro Rosso or Red Bull teams about their third driver positions,” the Tokyo-born ace confirmed. “I am very disappointed that we were not able to come to an agreement with them, but you never know what is around the corner.
“As everyone knows, I never give up, so we are still looking for the best options for the future.”