Super Aguri barred from Istanbul track – are Honda killing their B-team?

Honda, Barcelona, 2008, 470150, 2

According to reports a Super Aguri transporter has been barred from getting into the paddock at Istanbul. Autosport claims this is because the team will not be racing next weekend.

Honda team principal Nick Fry told the magazine he does not believe the Weigl Group, who recently made a bid for the team, are able to support it.

Fry is believed to want to get rid of the team because he does not want to spend any more money on it. Honda spent $200,000 on ensuring the team was able to compete in the Spanish Grand Prix after a previous attempt by Magma Group to save the team collapse.

As has been discussed before on this site before it seems the manufacturers who jumped at the opportunity to set up ‘B teams’ a few years ago when it appeared customer cars were going to become legal are now dropping them as customer cars will not be allowed. Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is also trying to sell his second team Toro Rosso.

Without Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson on the F1 grid will be down to just 20 cars, which is believed to be the minimum number Bernie Ecclestone is contracted to bring to Grands Prix. If another team were to disappear, three-car teams might be permitted in order to fill up the grid.

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36 comments on Super Aguri barred from Istanbul track – are Honda killing their B-team?

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  1. Robert McKay said on 4th May 2008, 14:53

    I like and respect Super Aguri, but the “will they won’t they” saga over their survival has become as dull as the Max Mosely “will he won’t he” resignation scandal.

    The team are clearly on life support. Aguri will talk to anyone but Honda seem to be looking for the perfect buyer, which they’ll never find at short notice, and they seem to have taken the decision to pull the plug above Suzuki’s head. Seems like game over for them, shame. If you wanted to be cynical you’d say they sealed their own fate by making the Honda factory team look worse several times last year.

    But you’re right Keith – dificult times for the non-manufacturers. STR will need a buyer. Aguri need a buyer. I remain unconvinced about Mallya long term for Force India, though am hoping to be proven wrong – but people said Midland and Spyker were in it for the long haul. 3 car teams are not far away I suspect.

  2. Fry and co turned down the Magma offer because they want the $100m debt paid back, in full, right away. Weigl’s offer is to pay it back over the course of three years, so I’m not sure it will be any more attractive to them.

    If SAF1 go under, Honda get the team, factory, cars and all. No doubt they could sell this to another group or manufacturer in the future and make back what they’re owed, which seems more likely than Super Aguri progressing to the stage where they can feasibly pay it all back themselves.

    Sad times for the post-Minardi Minardi.

    As for two teams leaving and the grid dropping below 20 entrants, I think if the proposed budget cap comes in and works, we’ll see at least a couple of manufacturers join the party in the next few years. 24 drivers on the grid in 2012? I reckon it could happen.

  3. Sush said on 4th May 2008, 15:48

    Peter Walker, post minardi?, i’m pretty sure Minardi are now Torro Rosso not Aguri….. hence the Italian name buddy!.
    unless you mean minardi in terms of the teams minnow size and giant aspirations?

    Bernie owns the Istanbul circuit doesn’t he? or a share of it. So he’s shooting himself in the foot.

  4. Bernie does indeed own Istanbul. Though if Honda refuses to budge, even Bernie may not be in a position to get Honda to give Super Aguri its cars back…

  5. Sush said on 4th May 2008, 16:01

    Alianora, sweet as, looks like Max and Bernie have lost the normally vice like grip they hold over the sport.

    Why didn’t Nick Fry warn the other circuits after the Magma deal fell through?. Why now coming to Bernie’s own circuit?.

    I like nick Fry, he has a lovely smile.

  6. Possibly because they wanted to see what Super Aguri’s latest suitor was like before acting. I’m still unsure as to whether their judgement on Wiegl Group is accurate, but it’s not good for anyone involved for this to be happening.

    Though I will agree with you on Nick’s smile :)

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th May 2008, 16:25

    I think Pete meant they’re like Super Aguri in spirit, and the fact they’re always at the back. They’re everyone’s favourite underdogs.

  8. Not intending to change the subject, but if F1 lost two teams to fall to 18 cars, that’s 9 teams… If the teams were then required to run three cars (that share one pit stall!) that would mean the teams would also be running their one spare car and that there would be no extra cars in the event of a crash.

    It also introduces the possibility of a 27-car grid in the event that all the cars are fixed.

    Are those assumptions true?

  9. Sush said on 4th May 2008, 16:32

    30 cars.

  10. Sush said on 4th May 2008, 16:34

    two teams, sorry!, yep 27 cars.

    that’ll teach me!

  11. Robert McKay said on 4th May 2008, 16:50

    I’m not sure there’s anything in the rules that say all the teams have to provide a third car…presumably as long as a couple of teams bring us up to the minimum 20 required that would suffice? Maybe teams would rotate who would run the third cars to save money (presumably not having them eligible for WCC points).

  12. Sush said on 4th May 2008, 16:57

    Robert Mackay, I get the feeling the teams would refuse to run a third car if its not in the rules and not in their interests (points, money). Especially a rota, since certain tracks favour certain cars.

    Sounds to me like the manufacturers are pulling as much weight as they can against the FIA and FOM.

  13. Robert McKay said on 4th May 2008, 18:21

    “Robert Mackay, I get the feeling the teams would refuse to run a third car if its not in the rules and not in their interests (points, money).”

    I guess this is true, but I suspect that there is a clause in the Concorde agreement that says the teams agree that they may be required to provide third cars – there may not be any choice in the matter, contractually-speaking. Though whether the Concorde agreement is still strictly in place is a possible debate.

    It’s true that certain tracks favour certain cars but I suspect the rules don’t require there to be 20 championship-points-scoring-cars, just 20 cars. So if a third Ferrari is on the podium it “doesn’t count” (though you could arg being there in other peoples way would affect outcomes etc.). So in that case makes more sense for the teams to choose who will run the third cars which are basically just out to make up numbers. But this is just my speculation – I could very easily be a long way from what would actually happen. And even if Aguri go under, we still have just enough cars anyway.

  14. Robert McKay said on 4th May 2008, 18:22

    arg=argue, sorry!

  15. Sush said on 4th May 2008, 18:40

    if the third car rule has been put into the Concorde agreement by someone like Bernie we have a stalemate

    Bernie needs 20 cars
    hence Honda pull out of Aguri to bring the numbers down, next up Torro Rosso.

    anyway, back to Super Aguri, lets check the timeline of what happened?.

    * Honda pull away from Advertising to make the earth car, losing 50 mil a year in the process.
    * Honda pull out of funding Aguri possibly due to lack of funds from no sponsorship.
    * Aguri beats the Earth Car. Nick Fry’s lovely smile gets stretched.
    * Fry goes on a technical spending spree, hiring lots and lots of F1 knowhow
    * budget is stretched out and Honda decide not to sponsor ITV’s F1 coverage.
    * ITV hand over licensing back to the BBC and analyst state the Honda sponsorship being the major reason.
    * Aguri needs money, but honda wont fund them…

    if honda was sponsored themselves would that increase the budget enough to accomodate the little lovable Aguri Team?

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