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?

  1. Rabi said on 4th May 2008, 18:52

    I think the issue is the customer car chassis more than money. Honda have enough money to save Super Aguri as it is.

  2. Yup, I meant they’ve replaced Minardi as everybody’s favourite struggling heroes.

    Regarding the number of cars at an event, I seem to remember last time the three car idea was mooted there was some talk that only some of the teams (ie, the leading teams) would have to bring a third car, not all of them. But its hard to think of a fair way to make that work.

    If we did drop to nine teams, I guess the increase in shared TV-rights money might go some way to make running the spare cars for a season feasible. But then there are no spares at all and whoever wrecks on a Friday misses out on the race. Can’t imagine that would be acceptable either.

    Its all a moot point anyway. I’m sure we won’t drop below ten teams anyway.

  3. M Smith said on 4th May 2008, 20:36

    It looks like Super Aguri won’t survive much longer, and all the great staff at Super Aguri (drivers included) will suffer the price.

    I really hope we don’t lose another team. It would be a shame to see Formula One falling to 9 running teams when it should have been 12 teams….

    This talk about if teams had to provide a third car to compensate – and if that drivers crashed the car…aren’t teams not allowed to bring spare cars anymore anyway?

  4. Brendan said on 4th May 2008, 20:53

    Allowing any team to run 3 cars will definitely require some new rules, and I’m sure they would still be allowed to have a spare chassis in the garage, as is the rule now. 3 cars just seems like such a can of worms though:

    * qualifying. Do the extra cars take part? Is Williams going to make a huge stink when the “3rds” bump real cars out of Q3?

    * points. Can 3rds score points? Probably not constructors points, as this would be unfair to teams not running 3rds. Driver points is possible.

    * team strategy. If 3rds can’t score points, would they be used to help out the 2 real drivers? Like create favorable SC periods or maybe even crash with other cars? Even if this wasn’t the intention, every time a 3rd crashes with a real entrant, this suspicion will be raised.

    This rule seems intended more for a 2005 Indy-style problem, where 2-3 teams have a problem only at one race. This could be plausible at Melbourne, if one car doesn’t pass crash tests in time, and others have severe trouble with air freight. 1-2 teams could run a 3rd car, with quick rules made up, and a championship race could still be held with happy sponsors. But, this is a one-race solution, and nothing more.

  5. The rule is specifically designed for lengthy periods when not enough teams enter, otherwise Japan 2002 (which only had 19 starters) would have triggered the three-car rule. It’s not clear how the three-car provisioning would work if it ever came to that, but I think all the teams are given the option of providing a third car. If there are insufficient third cars on track, then all the teams are punished.

    The trouble is that spare cars are banned and only two cars can be scrutineered at once. There are no exceptions provided – not even for the third car scenario. So a team would face needing three cars but only being allowed to have two working ones on track…

  6. Toby said on 5th May 2008, 2:59

    Very sad for Super Aguri, I agree. Especially when a rival CEO can ring FOM and get them banned. Maybe McLaren could try this to get rid of Ferrari for a race? I know that if I were Sir Frank, I’d be getting rid of Renault, Red Bull and Toyota quick-smart! Three phone calls and you get rid of the competition!

    Is it even legal for Fry to do this?

    Sush, I think Nick Fry’s “lovely smile” might be what’s called a ****-eating grin, lol.

  7. Oliver said on 5th May 2008, 7:27

    Honda is killing this team. Why not transfer responsibility to another company since its already a loss making venture for them. Debt can always be paid back over time, but that can only happen when you are still afloat.

  8. Journeyer said on 5th May 2008, 8:19

    Oliver, Honda’s strategy is to get Aguri sold on their terms. Honda want most or all of the cash upfront. If Aguri can’t sell themselves, then Honda will do it for them. Aguri is concerned about time, but Honda is concerned about the cash.

  9. It is really sad the way Honda is behaving. How can they stop one team from entering into the circuit. It is not very healthy sign for the sport and giving negative impression on the teams. Super Aguri is a small team and impressed a lot even in the 1st race.

    Again due to the bans it is very less likely any potential buyer would actually come and invest. The reason is very simple customer cars. Super Aguri team would not be supported any more due to the bans and Honda does not want to be beaten by the B team again and again.

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th May 2008, 10:00

    According to Pitpass a meeting on the team’s future will take place either today or tomorrow.

  11. Lady Snowcat said on 5th May 2008, 10:05

    I think you’ll find Honda haven’t told people not to let them in, rather they’ve told FOM and Bernie that they won’t underwrite or supply Super A anymore…

    Without a Honda guarantee, which was given to let them in at Barcelona, Bernie won’t let them play…

    Honda had to say no sometime….

    Super A were meant to be self sufficient long before this…. instead they owe Honda multi millions… and have no funds to go forward…

    And they don’t own their factory…they lease it….

  12. Oliver said on 5th May 2008, 14:20

    But what business has FOM got with a team’s finances? If a team can show up at a Granprix venue why should they not be allowed to compete?

  13. Rabi said on 5th May 2008, 18:13

    if I’m not mistaken don’t teams have to pay an entry fee for every race? That fee I think also includes the hiring of the paddocks etc as well. I could be wrong but I think that’s the case.

  14. the limit said on 5th May 2008, 21:28

    It is down to situations like this that I don’t like teams ‘cloning’ themselves out like this. It is a simular situation with Red Bull and Toro Rosso. I also don’t like the fact that teams can be allowed to sell other teams their engines, Toyota and Ferrari spring to mind, as I feel this lessens the competition factor.
    If Toyota supply Williams with engines, then in essence, Williams is just a Toyota B team, ripe for blackmailing if Williams beat them on track as Super Aguri did Honda.
    This is getting beyond a joke. To think of all the great teams we once had, teams with personalty and vision, teams like Ligier, Jordan, Brabham, Sauber.
    Now all with have is faceless corporations, men in suits, who are only interested in selling people new Accords and Civics and know bugger all about motor racing. Time to take another Prozac I think!

  15. Toby said on 6th May 2008, 1:30

    Weren’t Sauber a Ferrari B-Team? Monza ’03 springs to mind….