Takuma Sato says driving for one of Formula 1's new teams was never an option for him, after the Japanese driver confirmed he is moving to the IZOD IndyCar Series this year.
Sato was in talks with some Formula 1 teams, but after that didn't materialize, the former grand prix driver decided to move to America, where he will race with the KV Racing team. The 33-year-old, who last raced in F1 at the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, admitted he wanted to return to Formula 1, but only with a competitive team. He reckons none of the new squads would have offered him a strong car.
"I was always dreaming of continuing in F1 but I wanted a competitive car," Sato told Reuters. "Being competitive was something I missed in the last few seasons. There were seats available – with Campos or US F1 – but I don't feel it was appropriate. The name is F1, but I can't see those cars being competitive."
He added: "I was very close with Toro Rosso and Lotus and Renault but it's always something beyond your control. That's F1."
Sato admitted he was delighted to secure a racing drive after nearly two years out of action.
"I just want to drive fast cars. I'll use my experience and speed in IRL. You've got what you've got and it's a fast, open-wheel car. KV has huge potential and it's fantastic to be back."
The Japanese believes the IndyCar formula, with all teams using the same car and engines, should allow him to fight for race wins.
"The whole concept is different. Oval racing, particularly, is completely unknown territory for me at the moment," he said. "I went to last year's Indy 500 and if you stand in the middle of Turn 1, the cars scream past you at 225-230mph and into the apex the car just slides. It felt really scary to watch it. It was a big shock."
"I've only driven [KV's Dallara-Honda] for one hour. I had this big smile after and I felt like a kid. The car is different from F1. It's heavier and there are lots of things that don't have electric controls. It's classical racing.
"Everyone uses the same chassis, the same engine, the same tires, which means everyone has a chance to win races – which, from a driver's point of view, is great."