Super Aguri: no deal, but will race

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Super Aguri will race in the Spanish Grand Prix but negotiations to save the team are still going on. The F1 field faced being cut to 20 cars had they been a no-show.

If a team misses a race and therefore does not contest the entire season it can incur severe financial penalties. Therefore in order to remain attractive to a potential buyer Super Aguri mustn’t miss a round. The deal with Magma Group that was expected to save the team fell through two weeks ago.

In 2002 when the Arrows team was folding it appeared at the French Grand Prix but the drivers intentionally failed to qualify. Hopefully Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato will actually be able to comete properly in this weekend’s race . In the earlier races this year its drivers had to take extra care as the team had very few spare parts.

Further reports suggest the team are running with very little branding on their cars.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Super Aguri: no deal, but will race”

  1. Robert McKay
    25th April 2008, 9:17

    I’ve only caught a quick glimpse of them, watching practice, but it looked distinctly sponsorless…..making a point, or advertising the lack of advertising!?

  2. There is NO place for any team that can’t afford to pay their bills and invest to a reasonable level in their team.

    The fact that there appears to be no buyers says an awful lot about what is going on in F1 at this present time.

    The pervy Mosley affair, the lack of a new Concord agreement, the investment needed with KERS and new 2009 rules and so on – is it any wonder investors are holding back?

    I contend that if the image of F1 had and was not being tarnished by the inept FIA and their pervey President then it would have been a lot easier for the team to secure the funds they need – there ARE a lot of potential buyers out there!!

  3. Robert McKay
    25th April 2008, 9:41

    "I contend that if the image of F1 had and was not being tarnished by the inept FIA and their pervey President then it would have been a lot easier for the team to secure the funds they need – there ARE a lot of potential buyers out there!!"

    There are, but they baulk at the cost when they realise that they can’t just buy the assets of the team as they are – they also have to build Aguri into a full constructor. That’s the horrendous expense that puts them off I think. The Mosely thing is not the issue. We know F1 is ridiculously expensive – look at Jordan-to Midland-to Spyker- to Force India: those two middle buyers realised the cost was not worth it, and got out again ASAP. I contend that if anyone does buy SA we’ll probably be having the same conversation next year as they look for another new buyout…

    F1 has to be made to be more cost-effective for the small teams. Cosntructor cars might be contentious….but I’m betting KERS is helping nobody in this respect.

  4. Robert McKay
    25th April 2008, 9:46

    Sorry I meant "customer cars" :-D

  5. well put mr McKay.

    the Financial director at DHL almost choked when she saw the expenses for one race.

  6. Keith, could you explain why teams incur financial penalties for not racing?.  I understand that its a deterrent for the big teams not to have a hissy fit over a country they don’t like (and can’t win at).

    But a team that can’t afford to race gets fined? , that is Tom Cruise crazy!.

  7. The teams are required to do all the races so the promoter (Bernie Ecclestone) can promise a minimum number of cars for each race. Back in the day some smaller teams would skip the more remote races (here’s an example: Japan 1977).

    This was decided not to be good for the image of the championship – and I think that’s correct. Ecclestone’s problem now is, if Super Aguri does go under, he’s down to just 20 cars and that’s the minimum he’s contracted to bring to races.

  8. In exceptional circumstances, the Concorde Agreement has provision for teams to miss one race a season – as long as the reason is not within the reasonable control of that team. The Arrows case indicated that serious financial difficulty counts as an "exceptional circumstance", but no excuse is considered sufficient for missing two races. This is the danger Super Aguri faces – if it starts missing races, it puts their place on the grid in danger. But they’re apparently after $100m to clear debts to Honda, which means it’s really expensive for a team that doesn’t have construction facilities.

  9. cheers Keith, that makes sense, although it’ll screw Bernie over :)
    as i understand it.

    100mil debts?, for a customer car team?, are you listening Richard Prodrive?

  10. That would probably put him off even more…

  11. Question if there are insufficient cars/teams that bernie has agreed to supply to races as per agreed/terms conditions ie – money given too him – would he then be in breach of ontract and liable to have these races then re negotiated out with his terms and possibly in that light provide –  subject to the teams who were willing to take part – mostly manufacturers – who do not wish to listen to the present head of the fia?.
    Ferrari exempt of course!! – they have A1 too look forward to -that another person /organisation could be able to step in and renegotiate more acceptable terms to teams and race organisers and get back to racing without threats of being dropped in europe and north america /australia? – what do you think ?

  12. contract – sorry

  13. Alan – as I understand it if there are fewer than 20 cars on the grid then Ecclestone would be in breach of contract. Obviously is Super Aguri drop out he will be right at the minimum level, so I would imagine he’ll be trying to help keep them in!

  14. If it looks like the grid will drop below 20 cars, Bernie is entitled to force some teams to provide a third car. Which is messy for reasons I don’t entirely understand.

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