Suzuki and the Reality of Racing in 2006
Aguri Suzuki's third place in the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix may have been the crowning glory of a Formula One career which delivered less than it promised, but the Japanese - until Taku Sato's third place in last year's US Grand Prix, the only driver from the Asian country to stand on a podium - faces the race of his life if he is to get his Super Aguri Formula One team off the ground in time for 2006's opening race in Bahrain on 12 March.
Alluded to in the build-up to his home race, the former Lola, Zakspeed and Arrows driver's plans were treated with scepticism by a press who saw the Honda-linked rumours as a convenient let-off for a BAR-Honda embattled after announcing the sacking of Sato. After all, what better way of silencing partisan critics than the announcement of a second Honda-powered team, one with a home-grown flavour and aiming to employ Sato, to boot?
At the time, BAR CEO Nick Fry suggested that his operation would be substantially assisting the then-unnamed newcomer - with both engine and chassis technology - leading to suggestions that Suzuki's operation would be, in effect, a satellite running 2005 chassis and even, thought some, rev-limited V10 engines as provided for by the 2006 regulations.