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Sato Pleads While Honda Decide

Sato Pleads While Honda Decide

With Super Aguri’s fate being decided either today or tomorrow, Takuma Sato has spoken to the media, pleading for the automotive giant to offer support in order for them to continue racing. The news of Super Aguri has divided opinion around the world; some people arguing that Aguri got themselves into the mess and others who are wanting to see no less than 22 cars on the grid. Yesterday it seemed like Honda were already taking matters into their own hands, pre-emptively informing FOM that the team would not be racing in Turkey this weekend. This has led some to suggest that HondaF1 CEO Nick Fry, or the Honda corporation itself, has already made its decision, despite the meeting not due to take place until Tuesday. Pitpass have suggested that if/when the order is made to disband the team, Honda do not want Aguri in the paddock where they could be an embarrassment or nuisance to the Honda brand.

In an interview on his website, Sato (the man who had the team essentially built for him) speaks about the worries and concerns of his immediate future, but is also confident Weigl can offer a decent deal that will see Honda get their money and the team survive. Not everyone feels this is quite so straight-forward, but I guess Sato has to toe the corporate line for now.

I have no idea why this [prevention of accessing Istanbul paddock] has happened as I understood that no decision has been made by Honda yet and that a decision will be made in the next few days about whether we will be able to race or not. I heard that FOM was told that we are not racing so they wont let the trucks in but I don’t understand why they have been told this when no decision has been made yet.

As everyone knows now, the recent DIC investment with the Magma Group failed right at the last moment, which has created a huge problem for the team. Everyone thought this deal was going to happen and I had spent a lot of time with Magma and was excited about their plans to develop the team. So I was very disappointed that it didn’t happen and it was only with great support from Honda that we were able to race at Barcelona. It is worth mentioning that it is only just over a week since this deal collapsed, a deal everyone thought was basically done. So for Aguri-san and the rest of the SAF1 management to try to find a new solution in a week is almost impossible.

Obviously Honda has always been central to the whole Super Aguri team. We have always worked so closely together and I understand that they are in a difficult position right now due to DIC letting everyone down at the last minute, but I hope they will be able to continue the fighting spirit and give the team some more time to get the new investment in place. We have showed over the past two years how efficient we can be as a very little team and given the chance and support I believe we can be very competitive.

We need Honda support more then ever now and I am just hoping that they will be able to find a satisfactory solution. Honda are famous for their Racing Spirit and I am sure this will not desert them now. Takuma Sato.

Takuma Sato - 2008 Australian Grand PrixSato went on to say in his interview that he doesn’t like thinking about what could happen should the Weigl deal not be accepted by Honda, and the Japanese driver intends to focus on the upcoming Turkish Grand Prix. Assuming that is, he is allowed entry.

It’s interesting that Sato still thinks Honda will pour money into the squad. Perhaps he is being publicly upbeat in the hopes that it will rub off on Honda chiefs, or that they will face ridicule if they do not concede to Sato’s wishes. Unfortunately, it would appear that things have moved past this and Honda are seemingly okay at dealing with embarrassment at the moment. Having the Aguri trucks parked up on the outskirts of Istanbul Park cannot be doing the brand any good, but as Aguri are only really known within motor-sporting circles, the news isn’t getting into the mainstream media too much.

Images courtesy of Honda and Super Aguri.

Oliver White

1 comment

  • Given that SA was ostensibly set up to avoid a loss of face by Honda it seems very odd to publicly take the team out like this. It would have been a lot smarter to do it before the season started and wrap it up in some nice PR about how they financed the team but SA were unable to stand on their own two feet despite Honda’s best effortd etc. Instead of that they have made a public mess of it and in the process no doubt managed to embarrass and annoy a man who has been a Honda customer for many years in Aguri Suzuki.

    If I was Toyota I would be tempted to cash in on Honda’s loss of face and sign Sato to a cheap testing contract and get some good publicity in Japan. Given the awful mess Toyota have made of F1 I would have thought they would grab any good publicity they could get and if they can twist the knife in their rival’s back so much the better.

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