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GP Week : Issue 10
H ONDA has a philosophy, inspired by its founder Soichiro Honda. ‘The power of dreams’ commands the company’s website. “Making impossible dreams happen – something that Honda does every day.” Well… not every day. For on Tuesday May 6 2008 motorsport learned of Super Aguri’s withdrawal from Formula 1. The Honda-backed team had done all it could to find a backer which the Honda board in Tokyo would find acceptable, but after two and a half years and one of the most incredible and yet perhaps inevitable and tragically short F1 careers, SAF1 was no more. The dream was dead. The events leading up to the demise of one of the paddock’s most loved teams differs depending on who’s telling the story. The Aguri faithful point to the fact that the team’s trucks had been turned away from the Istanbul paddock before the Honda board had even met – proof positive they say that Honda had decided to let the team go before even hearing Aguri Suzuki’s rescue plan. Honda, however, says the decision to end the team was taken by Aguri himself. There was an initial feeling among the team’s army of fans last week that the great Soichiro Honda would have been turning in his grave, for the Super Aguri F1 Team had shown more of the possibilities created by the passion and power of dreams than the works F1 entry which holds his illustrious name. But there were also those who rightfully said that Aguri Suzuki (above) had to shoulder a large percentage of the blame for the ultimate failure of his team, for it was he who had stuck his head in the sand after refusing to acknowledge that his ‘A Company’ in Japan simply hadn’t been up to the job of finding sufficient backing for a modern day Formula 1 team. The resultant mess has seen much mudslinging between media, fans, Suzuki himself and Honda. With no Super Aguri presence in the Istanbul paddock, the team placed into administration and a large number of staff made redundant, it remains difficult to obtain a clear image of exactly what came to pass in Tokyo, and how the decision had been taken to call an end to Aguri’s F1 dream. GPWeek however was granted an exclusive audience with Honda Racing F1 Team CEO Nick Fry, who attempted to clarify a number of issues arising from the collapse of Super Aguri, and to refute the claims that the ‘giant killers’ had, ultimately, been killed by the giant. 24