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Honda Not Keen On Bailing Out Super Aguri

Honda Not Keen On Bailing Out Super Aguri

The deal with the Magma Group that would have saved Super Aguri collapsed last week, and since then team owner Aguri Suzuki has been working hard on re-negotiating another, all in attempts to save his little outfit and enable them to continue racing. The squad have turned up in Barcelona ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, but already the deadline for sorting something out has passed, twice. And now Honda Racing CEO Nick Fry has given a strong indication that Honda are no longer willing to help them out.

Magma, who are headed by former president of Ford Europe Martin Leach, had negotiated around 80% of the funds necessary to buy Aguri from Dubai International Capital, but they have since pulled out citing a lack of a clear commercial agreement for the future of Formula One and the insistence that customer cars will longer be allowed in the near future as reason for the decision.

Nick Fry’s words do sound like a man who is willing to bend.

Honda in my opinion have done the maximum possible to support the Super Aguri team.

It was never Honda’s intention to fully fund two Formula One teams but Honda have been incredibly supportive over the last two years of Super Aguri. But they do need to find funding of their own.

We have been engaged almost full time in the last few weeks trying to find a solution and I hope that it’s going to be a happy ending to the story, but at this stage that certainly can’t be guaranteed. Nick Fry.

However, the latest news in the Spanish paddock is that Aguri have been able to re-negotiate a deal with Magma, but currently nobody is confirming anything. It was reported earlier in the week that Super Aguri were looking for around the $100m mark for the team, almost all of which would go straight back to Honda has repayment for the debt owed.

Hopefully enough can be done for Aguri to race this weekend and the rest of the year. The team have until Friday to work something out, presumably the start of Friday Free Practice is indeed that time.

Oliver White

4 comments

  • Im curious, considering the amount of applications the FIA had when putting out the tender for a 12th team, why more prospective buyers are not keen on boarding the SA bandwagon. What happened to Direxiv and Carlin motorsports? Eddie Jordan talked about coming back, Eddie Irvine was even rumoured to want to run a team at one spell, surely this is a golden opportunity for a foot in the door for someone.

    I realise the customer car situation is causing some worry for 2010, but surely with enough effort this can be overcome?

    I really hope SA can put something together, after all, in a world were headlines constantly read “suchabody rules out points” and “driver x write’s off chance of a win” and the words “for sure” are repeated ad nauseum, it’s nice to see a team of individuals with unique fighting spirit and a genuine will to survive

  • It would be a golden opportunity, except that it costs $100m plus the need to build new facilities in fairly short order. Had this occurred this time next year, David Richards might have been in a position to do something with it, but since he doesn’t have his new factory yet, even he doesn’t have the production capacity to take on a full F1 team as well as his other responsibilities.

    The thing with the 12th team thing was that it only cost $300,000, the cost of staff plus the cost of facilities. And even the staff of Super Aguri quality are not worth $100m to a team. It makes no financial sense for a team to buy Super Aguri out, unless they need to make a marketing bang immediately 🙁

  • I think the bigger problem is that this sets a precedent for other prospective entrants. What chance has any new team got, when such an apparently heavily subsidised squad falls by the wayside

  • They aren’t buying in because it is cheaper and more effective to just let the team die, and then pitch a new team and pay the $45M deposit and build from scratch. Aguri are straddled with debt, bad investment deals, poor facilities, an old chassis and not the best team. An investor would have to be very brave to not only pay $100M, but then to take all of that on – considering that entering a new team is so much cheaper.

    I would hasten to guess that most of the Aguri revenue from each race is probably going straight back to paying down debt – since they rush to secure more funding on a race-by-race basis. It wouldn’t surpise me if the team just went bankrupt, and then whatever assets are left are picked up by one of the new teams at auction.

    It is almost a re-run of Arrows in 2001 – nobody willing to pick the team up but many waiting for it to die to pick up the assets (same thing with Prost – Walkinshaw ended up buying the assets of both teams but still didn’t get an entry). Speaking of Arrows in 2001, I wonder if the Aguri drivers are being paid? That issue is what eventually forced Arrows to close, when Frentzen took them to court.

    Also, Torro Rosso is on the market – and undoubtedly is better value than the Aguri team for any financiers looking to enter F1.

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