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Super Aguri withdraw from F1 // Honda's sister team finally admit defeat and leave the sport

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

It seems to have been a long time coming, but Super Aguri have finally had to admit defeat and withdraw from the 2008 F1 World Championship.

The team looked like they were about to be saved by a last minute deal with German company Weigl, and talks have been ongoing this week to secure the investment. However, it looked like things weren’t going to plan, when CEO of Honda, Nick Fry said that Weigl weren’t in a financial position to be able to actually support the team, and therefore the deal may not go ahead.

Super Aguri’s transporters and motorhome turned up to the Istanbul circuit ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix, but they were not allowed entrance to the paddock. Somewhere along the line, someone (presumably Honda) had told FOM, who are in charge of the entrance, that Super Aguri weren’t going to be participating in the race. This confounded the team, who were under the impression that they would be racing and that their future was looking a little brighter.

After crisis talks with Honda and Weigl, team owner Aguri Suzuki released a statement today saying they would be withdrawing from the season.

It’s a sad end for the team, who have battled adversity at every stage, and I don’t think anyone is glad to see them go. The team was essentially created to house Takuma Sato, after Honda didn’t want him in the main team, but couldn’t afford to lose the Japanese support. Although always at the back of the grid, Super Aguri were looking stronger towards the end of last year, when they got their first ever championship point, and reacted as though it was a win. However, their main sponsor was SS United, a controversial company who defaulted on payments, and have since appeared to cease to exist.

This put Super Aguri under serious financial strain, and with the customer car row becoming ever more threatening, the future started to look bleak. Honda didn’t want to support them anymore, as without the customer car option, they didn’t need two constructors teams. The main team was faring badly enough.

And so, it is with regret that we have to say goodbye to Super Aguri. Suzuki hasn’t ruled out a return to Formula 1, but the wounds are still fresh and he admits to being completely worn out by his efforts to keep the team afloat. He thanks all the team, including engineers, Davidson and Sato, for their hard work and wishes everyone well.