Season Review: Takuma Sato

In a series of blogs that will be featured throughout the offseason, I review and talk about 21 full-time drivers in addition to extended part time drivers (Carpenter and Conway) in an honest and opinionated format. I would ask you to share your opinions on my thoughts as well as your thoughts on the driver and their season. Enjoy:

Takuma Sato
#14 AJ Foyt Enterprises

18th in points scoring 350 points.

Best finish: 4th (Sonoma)
Worst finish: 23rd (Toronto Race #1)

Wins: 0
Poles: 2
Avg. Start: 12.6
Avg. Finish: 15.5
Change in position: -53

Grade: D

A scary parallel can be drawn from the 2013 season that Takuma Sato had to the 2014 season. Strikingly and rather scarring, Sato had the same average start last year as he did this year (12.6). Although his average finish barely improved (from 16.0 in 2013 to 15.5 this year), it still isn't good enough. And each season was accompanied by a terrible, terrible mid portion of the season. Last year, Sato only managed to finish one race out of the last ten. This year, Sato finished no better than 18th in nine straight races, including a string of six straight DNFs. He did manage to bring his change position up.... From -64 to -53. The only read his grade wasn't lower is because of steady qualifying, quick pace at some races, and a host of mechanical issues. He's also at a one car team, which is becoming a bit of a dinosaur as of recently.

Listen, Takuma Sato is a great driver. He may not have the best equipment, but he just needs to use his head at certain points. I don't see any reason why Sato would be back in 2015. Speculation persists that Jack Hawksworth may be making a move to the team. It's also worth noting that Indycar hopeful Conor Daly did race for Foyt back in 2013 at the Indianapolis 500. I see either one of them, or any host of drivers, replacing an embattled Sato. Whatever happens, I have enjoyed watching Sato's fearless and brave driving style.

Takuma Sato - GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma: Day 2
Photo: Todd Warshaw / Getty Images North America

Up-to-date 2014 report card:
Mike Conway - B+
Carlos Huertas - D
Graham Rahal - D
Takuma Sato - D

Stay tuned for P17 Jack Hawksworth!

-Matthew Hickey