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Joining the Club – Super Aguri

Against all expectations, Super Aguri survived their first year rather well, developing an ancient Arrows chassis into something like a modern GP car and finishing the last race of 2006 in tenth place. This season they have a development of last year’s Honda, a car that won in Hungary, and have taken a leap forward in performance as a result.

Davidson

Anthony Davidson in the Super Aguri SA07

The big question is: can they maintain the pace of development and consolidate their position in the midfield? Although they are currently embarrassing their parent team, Honda, I feel that sooner or later the car will reach the limit of possible tweaks and adjustments and will begin to slip towards the back of the grid again. This is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with the team (indeed, they have done wonders so far); they are working with last year’s product, that’s all.

Super Aguri provide us with a glimpse of the customer teams that are likely in the future, much more so than Toro Rosso which is more like a B team to Red Bull. They are enthusiastic, dedicated and ecstatic over each small success that comes their way. And they have shown that it is not absolutely necessary to have the latest equipment to compete in F1. They might never win races but points are not completely out of the question.

The team’s choice of drivers is not bad, too. Takuma Sato is no slouch and, on occasions can be very fast indeed. And Anthony Davidson is talented and quick. Although he has taken time to get into his stride, he out-qualified Sato in Bahrain and may be about to show us how good he really is.

Treated as something of a joke last year, Super Aguri have earned their spurs and it is hard not to wish them well. If nothing else, they reflect the overwhelming enthusiasm of the Japanese for motor racing, F1 in particular.

6 Responses to “Joining the Club – Super Aguri”

  1. The enthusiasm and dedication to which you refer in Super Aguri amount to the foundation of the intangible spirit that seems to infuse each successful F1 team. Honda’s problems, as you’ve previously pointed out, might well come from the massive organization behind them. It takes a long time to turn an ocean liner around.

    Speaking of intangible spirit, imagine the rush of positive vibes Alonso is likely to receive in front of his own people next weekend.

  2. Yes, Barry – and the four-week wait is nearly over! It should be a very interesting race, with Ferrari apparently having made big improvements and McLaren saying they have found a few tweaks too. But will Alonso’s home advantage be big enough? Even all those collective Spanish hopes are going to find it hard to beat the Italian team this year, I think.

  3. “Even all those collective Spanish hopes are going to find it hard to beat the Italian team this year, I think.”

    That’s what they said about Prost in 1986. The Williams Hondas had a far larger margin of superiority over the McLarens that year than Ferrari has over McLaren this season. But consistency won the day for Prost. And Alonso if nothing else, is consistent in his performance as the previous couple of years has shown. (Hopefully Bahrain was his one glitch).

  4. That’s what I like about Alonso – he has both consistency and speed. I hope you’re right about the margin of superiority, Qwerty. Ferrari sound very confident that they have made big gains over the last few weeks.

  5. Hmmmm… seems like Alonso is getting a lot of favourable expectations here. Alonso is great. Prost was great. Williams was great. Also Ferrari is great, Kimi is great, Massa is great, and it ain’t in the bag for Alonso yet. I would never have realized that it was actually Shoomi/Ferrari who were dulling down F1 for several years past. Now we’re back to the real racing that I fell in love with back in the fifties.

  6. You said it, Barry! Whatever one’s opinion of the Shoemaker, the fact is that he won with boring regularity. Now that he’s gone we have a real fight for the title – any of four, perhaps five drivers could win in the end. And that’s what makes racing really fascinating!

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