Super Aguri F1
|Based in: Leafield Technical Centre, Langley, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29 9EF, U.K.|
Founded: 2006 (active between 2006 - 2008)
Team principal: Aguri Suzuki
Managing director: Daniel Audetto
Technical director: Mark Preston
Sporting director: Graham Taylor
Head of aerodyanmics: Ben Wood
Chief designer: Peter McCool
Super Aguri Formula One was founded by Team Principal Aguri Suzuki, former F1 driver and key figure in Japanese motor racing. In January 2006, the team was accepted to participate as the 11th team in the FIA Formula One World Championship. It is rumoured that the entrance fee of 48 million dollars was payed by Honda so that Super Aguri could prove useful by running its Honda engines.
The team head office is situated in Tokyo, Japan, and its operations base is located in Oxfordshire, U.K. Aguri Suzuki manages the ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri) Project and is also the team principal of Super Aguri Fernandez Racing for IRL IndyCar Series in U.S.A. In 2006, Super Aguri competes in F1, IRL, Japanese top formula category All Japan Championship Formula Nippon and Japanese top touring car category SUPER GT series.
The first season proved to be quite succesful considering the low budget and late inauguration of the team. A tenth place of Takuma Sato proved the team's efforts on their Super Aguri SA06. With a very limited technical team, the engineers managed to make great progress with an old Arrows chassis. As for the second driver seat, several people came by as Yuji Ide was not up to the requirements for an F1 driver. He was replaced by Franck Montagny for several races before Sakon Yamamoto took over the second racecar. Aguri Suzuki wanted an all Japanese lineup and therefore relegated Montagny to a testing role for the rest of the season.
In 2007, the team continued under sunny skies with SS United as their main sponsor. Super Aguri were able to modify the race winning Honda RA106 and made the most out of it. Several surprising performances and 4 points put the team in 9th place of the constructor's championship. Later on in the season, it emerged that SS United failed to comply with its sponsor contract. As it would later emerge, the lack of payments from SS United eventually would make the team collapse.
In 2008, the team continued with their 2007 drivers, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson. The first races did proved difficult as, contrary to 2007, the team now had a Honda car that largely underperformed during 2007. On top of that, the financial difficulties caused the team to not test several times, often due to not having enough spare parts for its cars. As the crew arrived at the season opener in Melbourne, Magma Group entered as a saviour as they announced a buyout of the team.
However, the team dragged along a financial deficit and when Magma decided in April to call off its deal with the team, rumours emerged that the team would have trouble making it through the season. Eventually, on 6 May, Aguri Suzuki officially announced the withdrawal from Formula One. According to some sources, it was Honda Racing F1 CEO, Nick Fry who was the main reason for the team to collapse mid-season. Fry reportedly tried to hold off the Weigl initiative by pretending to revive the Magma deal while simultaneously cutting SA off the cash needed for the race. While a cash injection from Weigl allowed the team to race in Barcelona, Fry eventually got what he wanted and dried Super Aguri of money, resulting to its withdrawal.
|Car designation||Race years|
|Super Aguri SA05||2006|
|Super Aguri SA06||2006|
|Super Aguri SA07||2007|
|Super Aguri SA08A||2008|