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How Super is Aguri?

I see that Super Aguri are muttering about using Honda chassis as well as engines next year. That would be a huge step forward from the outdated Arrows chassis they have modified (twice) to produce their cars this season, but it is extremely doubtful that the FIA would allow it.

Super Aguri

Super Aguri

Years ago, all you had to do to go racing was buy one of the previous year’s cars from an existing constructor and turn up on time. If you went to March, you could even have the current year’s model. Quite a few famous drivers began their F1 careers in such entries and some of the constructors used secondhand cars to tide them over difficult years. But things have been tightened up since then.

The FIA has reasoned that, if you’re going to compete for the constructor’s championship, you ought to be a constructor, not just a purchaser. That seems reasonable and now, if you want to enter F1, you have to pass stringent tests as to your financial viability and ability to build a competitive car. Even then, only one new constructor is accepted each year, so you will have to look better than anyone else seeking entry. Prodrive beat several other applicants in their bid to be the next F1 hopefuls.

I cannot see the FIA accepting the use of a Honda chassis by Super Aguri, therefore. Given the improvement in performance of the latest model, the SA06, it is doubtful that this would be the way forward for the team anyway. If they can make an ancient Arrows even vaguely competitive, it surely augurs well for their ability to build a car from scratch.

No doubt the problem is money. Super Aguri is a small team and have had difficulty in keeping to their original schedule for development of their car. The construction of a new car may be more than their finances can take, as well as being an enormous strain on their personnel. It might even be the case that the Honda option is their only possible route to survival.

But that is Formula One; if the money isn’t there, you’re dead. History is littered with the bones of F1 projects that started out so hopefully but ran out of money long before success guaranteed them decent sponsorship. And Super Aguri’s rather desperate plan to become a “Honda B team” does not bode well for their future.

One Response to “How Super is Aguri?”

  1. [...] We tend to forget that, in every race, someone has to come last. And the guys fulfilling this useful role most often in 2006 have been the Super Aguri team. I was fairly dismissive of their efforts in my previous post on them, but it may be that I was wrong. A study of the fastest laps in the Brazilian Grand Prix reveals the surprising information that the Aguri drivers managed to be seventh and ninth fastest. [...]

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