|Super Aguri (Super Aguri F1 team)|
Monday, 05 September 2005 10:29
Super Aguri F1 is a Formula One team which debuted in the 2006 season. The team, founded by former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki, is based in Tokyo, Japan but will also operate from the former Arrows factory in Leafield, UK. The cars made by the team are called Super Aguri Honda, with the team somewhat functioning as the Honda 'B'-team. The impetus behind the new team came in part from public pressure in Japan on Honda to help BAR-Honda's former driver Takuma Sato to continue to compete in Formula One.
The team faced a daunting challenge merely to be in the competition for the first race of the season. Initially, they notified the FIA on November 1 (ahead of the governing body's November 15 deadline) of their intention to enter. However, the FIA's official press release of the entry list for 2006 confirmed that they had not approved Aguri's entry, reportedly because the team failed to produce the required $48 million entry bond on time. However, the team re-applied for entry in 2006, and continued preparing cars for the upcoming season. Having missed the initial registration, the team needed to convince the existing ten teams to unanimously agree to their entry. It appeared that the former-Jordan team, now called Midland F1, was blocking the entry due to TV revenue reasons, but they got the unanimous agreement needed, along with the $48 million bond, and the team was confirmed by the FIA on 26 January 2006.
The cars are powered by Honda engines (RA806E 2.4 V8), and will use Bridgestone tyres. The Super Aguri Formula 1 current team's chassis, SA05, is based on the 2002 Arrows A23, bought from ex-Minardi principal Paul Stoddart who purchased them when the Arrows team went into receivership. The team has announced plans to produce a new in-house chassis later on in the 2006 season, possibly for the European races (at least one SA06 chassis should be ready for the French Grand Prix).
Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide were the initial race drivers for the team in the 2006 season, with Franck Montagny as the third driver. On May 4, after four races, the team announced that Montagny would be replacing Ide as race driver in the European Grand Prix and subsequent races.
Suzuki made his F1 driving debut with Larrousse in 1988 and enjoyed spells at Zakspeed and Footwork/Arrows before retiring in 1995 after sustaining a neck injury whilst racing for Ligier in the Japanese Grand Prix. He recently set up his own team in the American Indy Racing League (IRL) with IRL team owner Adrian FernÃ¡ndez (as part of a two-car effort) and has also been promoting young upcoming Japanese drivers.
The team made it onto the grid for the start of the season. In their debut race at Bahrain Sato successfully completed the Grand Prix while Ide retired on lap 35 with a mechanical failure and after nearly running over his pit crew. Suzuki deemed this race to be a good test for the team as the car had only done a maximum of 10 laps during pre-season testing. The team's second race (in Malaysia) was little better, with again only Sato finishing the race.
Super Aguri's third race, the 2006 Australian Grand Prix, saw significant improvement. Yuji Ide said, "This is the first time that both Taku and I have finished a race, so I am happy about that."
For the European Grand Prix), Yuji Ide and Franck Montagny swapped roles within the team, at the request of the FIA, who felt Ide needed more experience outside of the Grands Prix.
As of May 10th, 2006 the FIA Permit Office revoked Yuji Ide's Super License thus preventing his return to an F1 seat until at least the 2007 season. Franck Montagny will race until at least the Canadian Grand Prix, while on June 8th 2006 Sakon Yamamoto became Super Aguri's third driver from the British Grand Prix.
During the 2008 season Super Aguri withdrawed from Formula 1.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 14 February 2009 22:10|