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GP Week : Issue 10
THE collapse of Super Aguri is very sad news for all of us, but it was not a big surprise for most of the Japanese media. The team had been delicately balanced for a long time and, despite the promise of the Magma deal, we could not see any big sponsor logos on their cars for the first four races. It showed that there were still lot of things to sort out to make the Magma deal happen, and until then, Super Aguri had to depend on Honda’s support, which couldn’t go on forever. When I look back over the last two years and four months, I’m reminded of the love and support for the team from the fans. But it has never received strong support from Japanese sponsors and, ultimately, had to depend too much on Honda. In a way, Super Aguri has never been a ‘self standing’ F1 team. And it is very difficult to expect a long-term future in that kind of situation. We have to understand that there were some unlucky things which happened to the team. Originally, Super Aguri was designed for the Customer Car regulation, which had been expected for 2008. But the F1 teams could not reach an agreement on the issue and so the team had to review their future completely. Meanwhile, the team was designed to attract Japanese sponsors, but reaction from the Japanese market was less than they (and we) expected. Having Takuma as a driver, and Aguri as team boss made it loved by Japanese fans … but that doesn’t pay the bills. So, Super Aguri missed two basic, but important elements. Having said that, I think Honda has a big responsibility in this sad tale. I believe that the whole story of Super Aguri is a kind of ‘complex of compromises’ which Honda has taken, without having a solid, long-term strategy. Maybe it worked to save some face after Honda dropped Sato at the end of 2005. But to create a new F1 team just for one driver? I must say that it is totally crazy! If Takuma’s presence was so important for Honda, surely it was much better to keep him with Honda F1, rather than make a new team, spending a huge amount of money and energy while Honda F1 itself needed to concentrate on their own project? We will not forget all the effort made by drivers and all team members of Super Aguri. We will not forget all the excitement we had with this team. A small, private F1 team fighting against big teams with limited budget and resources reminds us of something lacking in modern F1. Ultimately, however, it was all an illusion, the result of a non-solid and compromised strategy of Honda F1. Honda will take the blame from the fans. It raised their hopes, and now they’ve thrown it away. Honda is now facing a strong wind from ‘Super Angry’ fans as they believe it was Honda who finally switched off the life support system of SAF1 and Takuma. Now Honda must find some way to avoid being criticised by these fans. Ironically, Honda finds itself in the same situation as it did at the end of 2005, when all this illusion began. Super Aguri: illusion & reality o p in io n Ken KawaKita Sportiva (Japan) 26