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Super Aguri's financial struggles - The Honda B team may not make the full 2008 season

Published by Christine

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

The majority of teams are making the most of their winter test session opportunities, practicing race weekends, testing out new aero devices and giving the drivers time to adjust to the car.

Super Aguri have missed out on a few of these test sessions, putting them on the back foot for the new season. The problem is, they may not even make it to the grid in Australia, and that is a higher priority than the speed of the car.

Last season, Super Aguri had serious problems with one of their sponsors. Money didn’t change hands, and this put constraints on the small teams budget.

Over the winter, they have been looking for outside investment to bring a new lease of life to the team, but so far, they have not announced anything. There were rumours that an Indian company may be interested, and there’s been contact by some Russian companies but nothing has been confirmed.

The lack of a definite future has led to Super Aguri not being able to officially announce anything. Their two drivers, Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato, are on the FIA entry list, but they have not signed their contracts yet.

The launch of the SA08 has been postponed, perhaps indefinitely. In its place, a series of interviews are set up for the media, with key members of the team.

Super Aguri have obvious links with Honda. They were created as a sister team to provide a place for Takuma Sato to sit. SA use Honda engines. Having Honda in the background must be a comfort to those involved, but it is not without its sacrifices. Honda insist on Anthony Davidson having a race drive there, because they value his experience and ability to give expert feedback on the engine and the car. They also appear to use Super Aguri to test out some young drivers, although this is seriously frowned upon. There’s a limit to the amount of mileage a team can do under testing, and it would not be fair for Honda to use their “B team” to get extra data.

For now, Super Aguri seem reasonably confident that they will at least start the season. It may all depend on whether they can find a suitable sponsor/investor or not, but so far, there has been no real indication that they may pull out. However, the lack of testing means they are a step behind everyone else already and that could, in turn, reflect badly for any interested sponsors.