Japanese rider Takuma Sato has been confirmed for BAR next year while David Coulthard proclaims that, even in his current situation, he is not ready to leave F1 at the end of this year.

Japanese Takuma Sato has been confirmed for BAR next year while David Coulthard proclaims that, even in his current situation, he is not ready to leave F1 at the end of this year.

Despite the tug-of-war between BAR and Williams over the services of Jenson Button next season, Dave Richards has confirmed that Takuma Sato will form part of the team in 2005.

In his return to F1 after completing a season testing with BAR, Sato has recovered well from his mid-season slump when he suffered regular engine blow-ups. Recently, the Japanese driver has been in excellent form, finishing in the points in four of the last five races.

The choice of his team-mate for next year remains uncertain with further proceedings in the Button-Williams-BAR saga expected to commence next week.

Meanwhile, McLaren’s David Coulthard is reluctant to leave F1 at the end of the season, but has also admitted that he may be facing the end of his grand prix career.

Coulthard was heavily linked to a move to Jaguar in 2005. However, this plan had to be aborted when Ford announced that it would be withdrawing its Jaguar F1 racing team at the end of 2004.

With most of the coveted F1 seats already allocated for next season and his current seat at McLaren promised to Juan Pablo Montoya, Coulthard’s future looks bleak.

If all else fails, team manager Ron Dennis has said on numerous occasions, Coulthard could remain at McLaren as a test driver in 2005. This may be a good move if F1 falls short of its mandatory 18 drivers and McLaren is called upon to field a third car.

However, F1 bosses remain positive that there will be 10 teams on the grid next season with buyers actively being sought for the troubled teams.

"If McLaren is not allowed to run a third car, I will have to join another team. But if that will not materialise either, I will have to call it a day," Coulthard lamented.