Fry not optimistic on Super Aguri chances
|By Alan Baldwin||Thursday, April 24th 2008, 15:16 GMT|
Honda Racing CEO Nick Fry has dropped the firmest hint that the Japanese manufacturer is not ready to continue supporting the Super Aguri team.
Super Aguri's future was still hanging in the balance at the Spanish Grand Prix on Thursday with the team still seeking a saviour after the collapse of a takeover deal.
Backers Honda said they had made every effort to support the cash-strapped team but could not guarantee their continued survival.
Fry said on Thursday he was not optimistic about the situation.
"We've been working as hard as we possibly can to find a solution for Aguri, but at this stage I'm not overly optimistic," Honda F1 chief executive Nick Fry told Reuters at the Circuit de Catalunya, where Super Aguri's trucks and hospitality were lined up as usual.
"Honda in my opinion have done the maximum possible to support the Super Aguri team," added Fry.
"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 (Aguri) 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."
The British-based Japanese team said last week a planned deal had fallen through after Magma Group informed them their investors "no longer wish to fund the intended acquisition".
Magma are run by Martin Leach, a former president of Ford Europe and ex-chief executive of Maserati.
Well-placed sources said 80 percent of the funds for Magma's proposed takeover was to have been provided by Dubai International Capital (DIC) and doubted the hole could be filled by anyone else.
DIC have also been interested in buying Liverpool FC but the sources said the collapse of the Super Aguri deal was not linked to their 500 million pounds ($988.5 million) offer for the English Premier League club.
They said the sticking point was the lack of a clear commercial agreement for the future of Formula One and the banning of so-called 'customer cars' from 2010, forcing all teams to design and build their own chassis.
Super Aguri have effectively been a Honda 'B' team since their debut in 2006 as a means to secure a drive for popular Japanese Takuma Sato after he was dropped by Honda F1. Their other driver is Briton Anthony Davidson.
Founded by former racer Aguri Suzuki, they have struggled for funding and limped through to the end of last season after expected sponsorship failed to materialise.
Sources said Honda, who have provided engines and considerable technical support, were owed in the region of $100 million.