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Sato rules out third-driver role at Red Bull 04 Mar 2009

Takuma Sato (JPN) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR3 Formula One Testing 17-19 September 2008. Jerez, Spain. Takuma Sato (JPN) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR3 Formula One Testing 17-19 September 2008. Jerez, Spain.

The chances of Takuma Sato making a return to the Formula One paddock for the 2009 season grew even slimmer on Wednesday, after the former Super Aguri racer announced he is no longer in talks with Red Bull about the possibility of becoming their reserve driver.

Sato tested for Red Bull's Toro Rosso team three times over the winter and was in the running for a 2009 race seat. But the news in February that the team had chosen Sebastien Bourdais to partner new signing Sebastien Buemi forced the Japanese driver to look for other avenues to continue his Formula One career.

In a statement on his official website, the 32 year-old said: “I am no longer in negotiation with the Toro Rosso or Red Bull teams about their third driver positions. 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.”

Before Super Aguri withdrew last season, Sato had been a firm fixture on the Formula One grid since 2003.