Q & A with Nick Fry
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, May 9th 2008, 12:24 GMT|
Honda Racing's Nick Fry was criticised by Super Aguri team boss Aguri Suzuki for his caution about a possible rescue deal to save the Japanese squad.
In the end, Fry's predictions proved spot on, as Super Aguri withdrew from Formula One after failing to reach a deal with the Weigl Group.
Autosport.com heard from Fry, who denied suggestions that he went out of his way to force Aguri out of the sport.
Q. You seemed to have been forewarned about the decision of the Honda board regarding Super Aguri, perhaps as long ago as last weekend. Is that correct?
Nick Fry: Obviously we within our team have been fully aware of what is going on, and been trying to help sort it out. Unfortunately from the point when Magma Group and DIC (Dubai International Capital) pulled out, things got increasingly difficult. Obviously we were still open-minded, but I was fully informed and fully aware of the progress on talks, which were difficult.
Q. Did you know then before the meeting with the Honda board last week that there was no chance of them continuing?
NF: No. Obviously the decision, at the end of the day, was down to Aguri. He came to Honda on Tuesday and at that point he realised that things were not progressing well enough for the thing to continue, so it was very much Aguri coming to Honda on the Tuesday. Before that, I was aware of how things were going, so you can make up your own mind. The final conclusion was Tuesday.
Q. There were some suggestions at the weekend that you phoned up Bernie Ecclestone at the weekend to tell him that Super Aguri were not racing in Turkey, which was the catalyst for their trucks not being allowed in the Istanbul paddock?
NF: No. Bernie has been fully informed about what has been going on from the start, as you would expect from a person who is promoting the whole event. Obviously I think it would be presumptuous in the extreme for people to think I have control over who gets into the paddock.
But Bernie was aware of what was going on, and made his own decision. Once you get things into the paddock, from a logistical point of view it can get difficult (to move things around). You can understand him wanting to wait until a decision had been made before allowing people to set up.
Q. There were some comments from Franz Josef Weigl suggesting that you went out of your way to stop Super Aguri continuing. What is your reaction to that?
NF: No. I think that again is completely unrealistic. The reality is that when you looking at entering grand prix racing, you have to look at the medium and long-term, as well as the short-term. I think Mr. Mateschitz has been quoted as saying that when you buy a team, that is when your problems really start. The reality is for Aguri, we were looking for a serious long-term partner and that takes very substantial resources. The one that we hoped would come to fruition was the Magma/DIC deal, but unfortunately that didn't.
Q. One of the reasons for starting Super Aguri was to house Takuma Sato and avoid any embarrassment for Honda. Does it create more embarrassment for Honda now that the team has been rather unceremoniously withdrawn?
NF: I think people, hopefully, will respect Honda for what they have done, which has put a huge amount of effort into the team for more than a couple of years in the hope that they would be able to stand on their own feet. The fact that it hasn't happened is no fault of Honda's, which is probably a little bit of economic circumstances, F1 circumstances and the cost of F1.
Q. Will you be finding a home for Takuma Sato?
NF: That is up to Honda. He is someone closely associated with Honda, and clearly what we will be doing is doing the best we can for Takuma and Anthony (Davidson), but what that means in reality has not been decided yet.
Q. They both want to stay in F1 don't they?
NF: Oh yes. I am sure they both do, and they have both done a very good job and we will do what we can. But we can't make any promises at this stage.
Q. Does it free up your team to do more now, rather than being sidelined doing Super Aguri gearboxes and engines?
NF: We were resourced to support Super Aguri with the power train and other technical support anyway. Obviously it does help our focus that we can focus on one thing, rather than two. In terms of resources to do the work that was necessary, we had those resources in place.
Q. Do you think it was a hindrance to your performance over the past two years having to supply Super Aguri with parts?
NF: The hindrance to our performance last year was poor aerodynamics, and nothing to do with Super Aguri. I wouldn't blame our poor performance during last year one bit on Super Aguri, but quite clearly when you have only got to concentrate on one thing as opposed to two, it is going to have a small benefit.