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Is Aguri Suzuki Upset With The Wrong Man?

Is Aguri Suzuki Upset With The Wrong Man?

Honda’s current team principal, Ross Brawn, is a man I truly respect. He may no longer be with a championship winning team, but his work ethic, abilities and performance haven’t appeared to slip following his ship-jumping antics. Perhaps it is too early to judge his performance at Honda; we need to wait to see what happens to the team before we judge the boss. But so far, Brawn looks healthy and uncompromisingly authoritative, albeit in green trousers. Today, Brawn has spoken to the press about the the demise of Super Aguri and the amount of teams currently participating in Formula One. And now, I’m starting to wonder about my opening two sentences to this post.

We can’t afford to lose teams and I think they [Super Aguri] showed a lot of character, a lot of effort in the last couple of years but circumstances prevailed and they were not able to carry on. It was a shame they could not find the funding to continue.

What I saw was Nick [Fry] making big efforts at time to keep the project alive, beyond any reason for us, it was because of the connection of Aguri with Honda. Nick did a lot of work to try and find a viable solution for Aguri. Ross Brawn.

Currently, Ross runs the Honda Formula One operation. He has done so since late last year and arrived at Brackley after a decade of limelight-basking in Maranello. So when his current employer gets caught up in the possible failure of its satellite team, you’d think, being experienced and all, he might get involved. For sure, he wouldn’t be able to devote much time to the cause, but you would think he would have concerns. But really, we don’t know if Brawn does or does not. And this is because he has hardly uttered a word about Super Aguri since this all kicked off.

When Brawn arrived at Honda, he stated he would be making small, minor changes to help the team initially. Ross’s approach is very methodical and concise. I suspect the man has a very large checklist somewhere (perhaps in his head) that he goes through, even for the simplest of tasks. And I’m starting to wonder if the removal of Super Aguri from Honda’s bank balance was one of those things on his list. Admittedly, this isn’t a small, minor change. But it would help Brawn in his job if he was given more of a budget to play with (remember, he’s used to blank cheques from Fiat) and was able to solely focus on the efforts of his own team, both on track and politically in the background.

If, and that is quite possibly the second-largest ‘if’ I’ve made on this site, Ross was the reason behind Super Aguri receiving substantially less support this year, then I have a lot of respect for the man. Not because he’s removed a bottom-of-the-grid team from championship (that loses respect), but because he would have managed to do it and get all targets pointing at Nick Fry while he can freely walk around the media saying how sad it all is.

Whether Brawn was a key Honda-side player in the demise of Super Aguri or not, we will never likely know, and Aguri Suzuki appears to be very annoyed with Nick Fry at the moment, so maybe I am reading between the lines too much. But you have to admit, if Brawn was involved, he did well to save face and dodge bullets.

Image courtesy of HondaF1.

Oliver White

7 comments

  • I thought you´re right, Oliver… I wonder exactly the same thing and I´m not sure but if I was in a Brawn´s place I have done the same thing.

    Isn´t bizarre create a team, spent millions of dollars and technical efforts just to put a “popular” driver on track?

  • i think you’re right that we are blaming the wrong man, but that you’ve also picked the wrong ‘right’ man (that may only make sense in my head).

    nick fry isn’t to blame, aguri suzuki is. i suspect he should be held liable as a director of his company for gross negligence, but time will tell.

    i think audetto saw it coming too, but was powerless to do anything about it.

  • I tend to agree with Sidepodcast here, and also with the article they had on their site earlier this week (was it ?)

    as many say, the downfall started when they signed up SS United as their principal sponsor … did Suzuki make any background check on that company ? Japan is not that far from Hong Kong where SS United is (was) headquartered. I doubth there are many people in Hong Kong that ever heard of a company called SS United … I have lived in Hong Kong for 14 years but I heard of SS United first time when they appeared on the SA livery … Company that can afford to support F1 team operation, even a backmarker, can’t be an unknown in a place it originates … How did Suzuki ever manage to bet all the future of his team on a deal with such a company, that is a mystery to me

  • On the face of it a partnership with an Oil Products marketing company could have produced many commercial opportunities for the team. However if you looked beyond the glossy website the company (SS United Group) was less than 2 years old and probably not the wisest choice of partner for such a large investment commitment. The lure of having a big money title sponsor was just too tempting for a team desperately in need of cash for car development. I guess it didn’t help that the SS United outfit was fronted by a Japanese guy, Takatoshi Saito, who briefly became Aguri’s new best friend. Contracts were signed before the race in Melbourne and the 1st instalment of the sponsorship fee was paid after which SS United seemed to disappear off the face of the earth in the same manner as the SS Titanic 🙂

  • If I was Ross Brawn and I turned up to take over Honda the first question I would have asked is why are we spending all this time, money and effort on another team when we are struggling so badly?

  • I wonder really what Oliver’s point is. Ross surely has some tough decisions to make at Honda, most of them unpopular. You don’t get to where he is in the sport being Mr Nice guy and I would have thought his brief was to get Honda onto the podium NOT to nursemaid a team that, for all it’s charm and charisma, was doomed from the outset.

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