2008: Super Aguri

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri, Silverstone, 2007 | Ian McWilliamsThey’ve hardly tested at all, and when they did they ran out of parts.

They’ve cancelled tests, launches and media briefings. Team boss Aguri Suzuki has flown to Japan for crisis talks.

Super Aguri have said today they will be on the grid at Melbourne, but they face a race against time.

As I write this, two weeks before the first practice session of 2008 is due to get underway, it’s not clear whether Super Aguri will be racing.

In my head I wrote off their prospects of staying in Formula 1 a few weeks ago when Max Mosley openly admitted F1 might lose them. I sincerely hope we’ll get word shortly that this won’t be the case – and not just because of how pitiful F1 would look with a 20-car grid.

I want to see Super Aguri racing in 2008 because they’re a charming yet feisty outfit. They got their 2006 programme together at barely a few months’ notice, and by the end of the season looked like a respectable team.

Last year they scored hard-earned points and came very close to beating parent team Honda. I’d hate to think that has anything to do with their current predicament.

As for the drivers, last year Takuma Sato mixed inspiration (passing Fernando Alonso at Montreal) with inexplicable blunders (spinning off and getting a penalty at Indianapolis) and you have to wonder, after five years of F1, whether he’s ever going to wean himself off the latter.

Anthony Davidson showed promise but was unlucky – the same has been said of many drivers who joined small teams before being replaced by someone with money. Sadly, this scenario is probably the most likely way of this situation being resolved. Honda may want Davidson in the car, but if they were ready to put up the money to guarantee it wouldn’t this mess have been sorted by now?

Keep your fingers crossed for this tiny, quirky, characterful team.

Photo copyright: Ian McWilliams

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6 comments on 2008: Super Aguri

  1. Andy Wolf said on 29th February 2008, 10:01

    Let’s hope they go down under & not just under!!!

  2. Even I’ve got my fingers crossed that Super Aguri make it, and I’m vehemently anti-customer car. Probably because Super Aguri are proof that a good strong tightly-knit squad can defeat the titans every so often, given the slightest chance. Now we just need a generous sponsor or two to be prepared to give them that chance…

  3. Quirky is a good word. I have been sitting on the fence on what I thought should happen to them, but after hearing that some investors may be interested and now even a buy-out, I’m for this team.

    Problems just seem to follow them whatever they do and now after saying they would take to the grid in Australia, all power to them.

  4. Well, they’ll be in Melbourne but will they be able to see the season out?

    I think they have a reasonable chance of remaining in F1 in 2008, but with the lack of development and testing this winter I think they’re set for a repeat of 2006, especially with Force India’s car looking like a marked improvement. Hopefully a poor season won’t deter too many potential investors and sponsors.

    Here’s wishing them luck. I thought the spirit of Minardi would never be seen again, but Super Aguri’s comes damn close.

  5. They should have managed to get some Japanese sponsors, they’re massive over there. Hope they get to Melbourne, as F1 wouldn’t be the same without a plucky underdog. F1 needs more Super Aguris and Minardis and less Toyotas and Hondas.

  6. The real problem is S.A. will have to become legitimate constructors by 2010, a problem the Toro Rosso team will also face.

    A potential buyer or investor will be faced with huge capital infusions to elevate them to that status. Overall I’d say it doesn’t look good.

    Once again a Mosley inspiration (customer cars) takes a potential race team down, along with Prodrive and probably T.R.

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