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Super Aguri Deal Collapses

Super Aguri Deal Collapses

Super Aguri owner Aguri Suzuki today announced the collapse of deal that would have seen his team change ownership to the Magma Group. It now turns out Magma’s investors – Middle Eastern company Dubai International Capital – no longer wish to fund the acquisition, thought to be costing around $100m. This now puts the immediate future of Super Aguri in serious doubt and the squad may not be able to participate in the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix.

Super Aguri F1 Team confirms that it has been informed by Magma Group, the potential purchasers of the team, that its investors no longer wish to fund the intended acquisition.

It is with deep regret that Aguri Suzuki is now forced to consider the future of the team, however negotiations with other parties continue. Aguri Suzuki.

The small outfit was thrown into trouble after Honda announced earlier in the year they no longer wanted to support the squad as they had done for the past two seasons. Suzuki then started to search for investors, but was also requested by Honda to retain Anthony Davidson as a driver. Davidson has been with the Honda family since 2001, testing for the team and eventually being promoted to a full time drive in 2007. However, this insistence on Honda’s part led to the failure of an Indian backed group buying into the squad, as it was said they wanted an Indian driver alongside team-staple Takuma Sato.

With little money left in the pot the Leafield-based team had already missed much of the pre-season testing, and have not turned up at the important Barcelona test this week. It is perfectly possible they may miss the race in a week’s time unless Honda can stump up some cash for spare parts. Aguri Suzuki is reported to be holding talks with Honda to find a practical solution with the motoring giant by the end of this week.

The long term future of the team depends slightly on the short term future, they could however return should they miss any races. At the moment though, it does look quite bleak. Given their improvement during the 2007 season, I feel it would be a great shame to lose Aguri from the grid, as well as Sato and Davidson. The team was essentially founded to help out Sato’s career after he was replaced at Honda by Rubens Barrichello in 2006, and Davidson deserves the drive after spending so many years developing the cars for Honda and previous owners BAR.

With 2009 marking the end of customer chassis in Formula One, the team should be spending time and resources into building a car themselves, but instead it would appear the squad will be focusing on retaining their position in the sport while the employees hope to keep their jobs.

Oliver White

6 comments

  • I just thought ‘not again’. This team has had it all bad, and then good, and then bad. However, the deal with Magna Group was never a sure thing. For a team that has worked as hard as they have just to put a car on any road, if I was them, I wouldn’t know what I would have left.

  • The scary thing is, had the Magma deal gone through for the reputed $100m, the majority of that money would have gone straight to Honda to cover their debt with them. Kinda makes you wonder, and as much I love the little team, what was the point? Had Aguri been able to walk away with his pockets lined and semi-successful or progressing team behind him, then fair enough. But a handful of dollars really doesn’t seem like it’ worth all the hassle.

  • and what exactly is the improvement Super Aguri made during 2007 season ? I would say none … They started the season OK, thanks to competitive Honda RA106 (the one that actually won a race and appeared on podiums few times in 2006). As the season progressed, the team begaun to slip down …

    They were beating Honda last year only because Honda’s 2007 car was worse than their 2006 car (and it still is beyond me why they did not drop the RA107 …)

    While it is sad that what looked like serious buyer backed off, I wonder how serious the intentions of Magma or their Dubai backers actually were … Midland and Spyker comes to mind …

    Now it is in Honda hands, as it was a month or two ago. They either continue financing the team and hope it will not take long for some buyer to come by or let them go under.

    Honda may however have to waive their right of veto over the new owners and their driver selection policy if they want to find the buyer …

  • Sorry Milos, should have said ‘given their improvement from 2006 to 2007’. They did improve quickly after the flyaways in ’07, maintained it quite well for a while but then, as you say, declined towards the end of the year as STR improved a little.

    It does seem that Aguri are once again at the mercy of Honda. I read somewhere (Pitpass, I think) that DIC are involved in a UK football club at the moment, which they suggested could be one reason for the backing out of the deal. That and I imagine $100m seems like a lot when they may not even getting a car to develop. Essentially, it is $100m for the chance to run around the back of the grid if you’re lucky.

  • I can’t help but feel sorry for the drivers. I rate Anthony Davidson as a potentially very good driver, but at this rate, he’ll never get a good enough race seat to prove me right or wrong!

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