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Cutting them loose - Considering whether Super Aguri should just stay at home

Published by Mr. C

It was with particular disappointment that I read of Super Aguri's struggles getting into the Istanbul paddock yesterday. My dismay came not from the desire to see the team find a safe passage to race next Sunday, but rather because I hoped they had just stayed home this week.

I appreciate this is an incredibly harsh thing to be thinking, and I'm also aware that amongst F1 fans I'm in the minority here. The problem for me is this whole process has now been publicly dragged out for far too long, leaving the Oxfordshire outfit with little dignity at the end of the day.

It's been pointed out to me by several people during the past couple of weeks that it was SS United defaulting on sponsorship payments, that led the team into their current predicament. We know Aguri lost almost $30 million after the contributing company failed to make an expected second payment, but there was also an additional $10 million missing from the coffers after Giedo van der Garde's sponsors failed to honour any payment.

Now these two issues may be entirely unconnected, but I'm seeing a pattern emerging here. Someone must be responsible for the failure to land the supposed income and it isn't helped by the fact that to all intents and purposes SS United Group don't appear to exist.

Back in my day, it was customary for companies who failed to generate and collect necessary income, to go bankrupt, but lately you could be forgiven for thinking that financial failure is merely a stepping stone on the road to acquiring additional support. In the UK recently, our government was effectively forced into nationalising the commercial bank Northern Rock, and this was swiftly followed up by a £50bn bond offer to help out other struggling British banks. Apparently, commercial failure is a very viable option these days.

The flip side of this particular coin of course, is success.

On track last year Aguri did a veritably fine job of humiliating the Honda factory team, soundly beating them in the first part of the season using the previous year's car. At the time Nick Fry came under a lot of criticism for Honda's performance and although he eventually saved himself with the appointment of Ross Brawn, there was a time when many felt his F1 career was on the ropes.

I'm sure then, it was with a wry smile that Nick apparently informed Formula One Management that Super Aguri would not be attending the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend. While there does appear to be time to withdraw said order and allow the ostracized transporters to enter the paddock, the question is, is there the will within Honda to do so?

Personally I think it's time they were cut loose. Many will argue that 11 teams are better than 10, maintaining they're doing a perfectly good job given the budget they have, or that the two drivers and all of the employees deserve to be treated better. However, Formula 1 is in so many ways broken right now, it's going to take a a huge event to focus the attention on fixing the issues. If that has to be the demise of everybody's favourite underdogs, then so be it.

I appreciate many, if not all of you, will disagree with me here, and therefore I encourage you to check out Lou's post over on F1Break or Alianora La Canta's podcast thoughts for a more balanced view.

Feel free to discuss in the comments as usual.