Aguri Suzuki, Takuma Sato… there’s something very familiar about this; something very 2007, with Taku blasting down a straight in Montreal and past Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.
That’s because the Aguri in 'Amlin Aguri' is the same man who led the little Japanese F1 team between 2006 and ’08 (and also raced in the sport himself during the 1980s and ‘90s). He has once again entrusted Takuma Sato to pilot one of his cars, while insurance company Amlin come onboard as title sponsors.
Taku wasn’t slated to drive until very late on. The team initially confirmed Katherine Legge and Antonio Felix da Costa for the season, but with the latter on DTM duty this weekend single-seater veteran Sato steps into his seat.
However the team's statement on Sato's arrival announced that the Japanese driver is 'spearheading' their lineup, so it is now unclear just who will be in the car long-term.
Sato made sense from the start. He has more than a decade's experience in top international single-seater series and knows the Arugi team from their F1 days together. His better IndyCar showings of late have been on street circuits, so he’s a Formula E natural. He’s done very little testing so will be hard pushed to win from the off, but if he is in the car for the long-haul he could spring some surprises.
Legge has plenty of international racing experience too having competed in Champ Car, DTM, and IndyCar. More recently she has been piloting the Delta Wing in America's United SportsCar Championship.
However, she's been towards the rear of the pack in Formula E testing, and it would be a surprise to see her improve on that in China.
The absent Da Costa would be a good addition to the field, if indeed he does return to the Aguri setup. Once seen as a shoo-in for the 2014 Toro Rosso seat, he has been adapting to the DTM this year and enjoying the experience. There is no doubt about his abilities behind the wheel of a single-seater and he could be a genuine front-runner if called upon.