As the World Championship rolls up to the Turkish GP, we will be missing one of the most likable squads on the grid, the surprisingly popular Super Aguri F1 team. A long shot since birth, the team struggled with aging equipment and a low budget, despite the support and blessing of the Honda factory. A haven for loyal Honda pilot Taku Sato and eventually Anthony Davidson in 2007, the team turned heads at times battling mid-packand notably outperforming the works Honda F1 team for a good part of the 2007 season. Shining moments included their first points in the 2007 Spanish GP and Taku’s breathtaking outside pass of Fernando Alonso’s McLaren in the closing stages of the Canadian GP.
A refreshing team to observe, Aguri Suzuki’s squad just couldn’t overcome a series of dooming events. The loss of promised funds from SS United Oil & Gas was the start of their bad luck. The FIA’s ridiculous decision to reverse their relaxing of the customer car rules continued their downward spiral, as they survived by using re-sourced Honda F1 equipment. Of note, the same awful decision turned away the highly anticipated entry of David Richards’ Prodrive F1 effort, effectively sticking a dagger in increasing car counts in the future. Finally, the last second Magna Group funding fell through during the 11th hour this season, leaving Aguri to scramble just to get their cars to the circuits in 2008 and have sufficient parts and equipment.
It is indeed a sad day, not only for Super Aguri F1, but for Taku and Ant especially. Loyal to BAR-Honda, Honda F1 and of course SAF1, they are two extremely fast and talented drivers deserving of race drives now on the outside looking in. With a lack of available rides, a number that F1 obviously doesn’t want to increase as mentioned above, who knows where they will end up. Hopefully, they can at least find a home in a test role with Honda F1. In wishful thinking mode, I’d love to see them be part of the Acura LMP program if things don’t work out in F1.
A team with a surprisingly strong cult following, they will be missed. Goodbye Super Aguri, it was great while it lasted.