Super Aguri withdraw from Formula One
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, May 6th 2008, 07:16 GMT|
Super Aguri have withdrawn from the Formula One world championship with immediate effect, the team announced on Tuesday.
After weeks of speculation about their future following the collapse of a proposed takeover by the Magma Group, a last-minute rescue package by German automotive company Weigl Group was not good enough to keep them racing.
Team principal Aguri Suzuki is understood to have met with the Honda board in Japan on Tuesday, but the outcome of that meeting was that the team will no longer be racing.
"In order to realise my dream to become an owner of a Formula One team, I applied for a grid position in the FIA Formula One World Championship in November 2005," said Suzuki in a statement issued by the team. "Since then, I have participated in the championship for two years and four months as the Super Aguri F1 Team, but regretfully I must inform you that the team will cease their racing activities as of today."
Suzuki made it clear that the current difficulties for the team were caused by the non-payment of major sponsor SS United last year, which put the team on the back foot regarding their financial situation.
"The team competed against the many car manufacturer-backed teams and have succeeded in obtaining the first points after only the 22nd race finishing in ninth place overall in the 2007 constructors' championship.
"However, the breach of contract by the promised partner SS United Oil & Gas Company resulted in the loss of financial backing and immediately put the team into financial difficulties. Also, the change in direction of the environment surrounding the team, in terms of the use of customer chassis, has affected our ability to find partners.
"Meanwhile, with the help of Honda, we have somehow managed to keep the team going, but we find it difficult to establish a way to continue the activities in the future within the environment surrounding F1 and as a result, I have concluded to withdraw from the championship.
"I would like to express my deepest thanks to Honda, Bridgestone, the sponsors, all the people who have given us advise during various situations over the past couple of years all the Team Staff who have kept their motivations high and always done their best, Anthony Davidson who has always pushed to the limit despite the very difficult conditions, Takuma Sato who has been with us from the very start and has always fought hard and led the team and lastly our fans from all over the world who have loyally supported the Super Aguri F1 Team."
Super Aguri made their debut in 2006, having been formed with assistance from Honda in a bid to keep Takuma Sato in F1. They scored their first world championship points at the 2007 Spanish Grand Prix, and finished ninth in last year's constructors' championship.
The team's withdrawal leaves F1 with only 10 teams now, with the grid originally having supposed to have had 12 outfits at the start of this year before the collapse of Prodrive's entry.