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Buemi and Sato to test for Toro Rosso 02 Sep 2008

Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Red Bull Racing RB4 Formula One Testing, Day Three, Paul Ricard, France, 16 May 2008. World © Bumstead/Sutton Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 26 April 2008 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 22 August 2008

GP2 driver Sebastien Buemi and former Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato are to test for Toro Rosso at a multi-team test session later this month, as the Italian squad continue to ponder their 2009 line-up. Buemi and Sato will be in action behind the wheel of the STR3 at the Spanish circuit of Jerez following the Italian Grand Prix.

“The time has come to try and find a suitable replacement for Sebastian Vettel, who is joining Red Bull Racing next year,” explained Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. “The Jerez test, the last one of the season, will give us an opportunity to evaluate Buemi and Sato at the same time, as they are both possible candidates for a 2009 seat.

“Buemi is an obvious candidate, because not only is he already part of the Red Bull family, he is currently performing well in the GP2 series. As for Sato, he has proved worthy of a place in Formula One and would be a good fit with the Red Bull spirit, while his recent F1 experience would be undoubtedly valuable to our team.”

Nineteen year-old Buemi has advanced through the Red Bull junior driver programme and is test and reserve driver for Toro Rosso's sister team Red Bull Racing. The Swiss driver is currently lying fifth in the GP2 championship and has four GP2 victories to his name.

Sato, meanwhile, is Japan’s most successful racing driver. The 31 year-old has competed in 91 Grands Prix, his best result being a third place finish at the 2004 United States Grand Prix. Sato first made the headlines when he won the hotly contested British Formula Three championship in 2001, before joining the Jordan Formula One team the following year. Three years with BAR Honda followed that, before he joined Super Aguri in 2006. He stayed with the team until it pulled out of the sport after this year’s Spanish race.

"I am delighted to be given this opportunity to get back behind the wheel of a Formula One car, after my season was cut short following the Spanish Grand Prix,” added Sato. “It will be especially interesting working with a team that has made so much progress over the course of the year."

Buemi will take charge of the STR3 on September 17, before handing the Toro Rosso over to Sato on the following day.