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.