Super Aguri on the verge of … ? (updated)

Super Aguri Spanish GP 2008

Update: The talks between Weigl Group and Super Aguri have been confirmed by both parties (see comments below this post). Nick Fry expressed his doubts yesterday (again, see comments below this post). Franz Josef Weigl however came quickly back with his response:

“Mr Fry will get a surprise if we do manage to do it. I think he should be happy that he has a private team behind him, and I think they could also have some support and advantage with Super Aguri. I don’t understand why he is working so strongly against Super Aguri being able to survive. I don’t understand because he will also benefit from us being there.

I would not go along to risk my name and my business. I have investor partners because otherwise I could not do it. We have a partner who is interested in the F1 business. It is an investment group and the package is clear – we want to have Honda, then investors and then my input, including technology, that we need to make a new car for 2010. It is a serious bid, and it will allow Super Aguri to survive for a long period of time. My offer is laying on the table and Honda can say yes or not. I have no influence over that now. I hope that they, and Mr. Fry, will agree that Super Aguri can survive.”


It looks like it is only matter of days before the future of Super Aguri F1 team is clear. Honda team does not seem to be willing to bank roll the Super Aguri operation any longer. At least that seem to be message Honda representatives sent through their statement to AFP:

“We will not provide relief on a race-by-race basis any longer.”

Bernie Ecclestone has admitted (to Reuters) he tried to help the team out but he is not convinced Super Aguri can survive:

“They don’t look in very good shape at the moment, unfortunately. I want them to stay, I’ve been helping them the last week. “

It is no surprise that even usually calm and loyal Anthony Davidson is cracking under the pressure of the situation.

So where is the help going to come from if not from Honda ? One possibility is new last minute deal with Magma Group but I would be surprised if that is the case. The only other saviour that made it to the news (yesterday) is the German automotive group Weigl. But if what the reports say is true, the 6.5 million pounds deal would only pay for the bills till end of the 2008 season. It is not the deal Aguri Suzuki is looking for but at least it would provide him with some breathing space and time to secure a long term deal.

The talks between (Aguri) Suzuki and Honda this week will likely decide the fate of the Super Aguri team. I believe that this time around any deal that comes around and does not include contribution from Honda will get a green light. I hope the cash will be found and the team stays around. But I also hope that there is a deal that will do more than just extend the agony …

Photo: Super Aguri F1 Team

8 Comments Post a Comment
  1. StewNo Gravatar says:

    Agony is right. I’ve never heard of anything so difficult and so drawn out. The ups and downs and such complicated dealings just blows my mind.

    If I ever needed anyone to fight for my business (if I had one) I would choose Aguri Suzuki. :)

  2. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    It seems to be the Spaniard Alejandro Agag Longo who saves Super Aguri’s situation at the end. Talks between the press and paddock are getting serious. A Spanish F1 team could exist.

    This young man has a whole story of success, interests and power behind. Let’s talk a little about who he is (this doesn’t mean I support his thoughts guys!):

    Agag is a businessman and politic, he’s 38 years old and married to Ana Aznar, the daughter from the Spanish ex-president Aznar (and retired after two mandates , which could be considered black and white), both mans are belonging to the party “Partido Popular”.
    How he became a strong man in Spain? Well, he studies in religious schools and Opus Dei Universities. He became a man whose life was like a playboy… Well after all his studies are Economics and Business Sciences diploma, and through his young years he belonged to the new generations from Partido Popular, there he developed his politics career. After Aznar won his first elections, Agag became a close person to him, helping to develop his political party ideas. With 30, Agag was chosen by his loyalty to become an Eurodeputy, since then he went to Brussels to perform a place in the Eurodeputies Chamber for his party. He became a friend from Berlusconi, Italian ex-president. But in 2001 he decided to leave politics and moved to create his own business.

    Why should Agag concern us? Between his interests is the Formula One. He’s working for the FOM through Stacourt Limited. Agag is a friend from Bernie Ecclestone and close candidate to take Bernie’s place in the next years. He is also partner and friend with Flavio Briatore and related also to Ron Dennis with Spanish sponsors. With Bernie and Flavio, Agag bought the English football team Queens Park Rangers in 2007.
    He is the brain who founded Stacourt Limited. This company owns the Formula One TV rights in Spain, also owns the rights of all mobile phone SMS contests during races and is the TV rights management company of the GP2 Series in whole world. Last year Stacourt launched the first mobile TV channel called AIR TV, which showed all the activities from F1 on the track in live stream to G3 providers in Spain, the purpose of this project is to be the first worldwide provider of F1 live in mobile phones (this worldwide project seems to be stopped or slowly working). Stacourt, independently from the FOM, produce their own production, and that’s why differences between the TV images and the mobile source exist.

    Nowadays Agag is partner from Adrian Campos (ex-manager from Fernando Alonso) and owns the largest part of “Campos Grand Prix” team in the GP2. Both, got close to Aguri Suzuki last year 2007 with an offer to buy half of Super Aguri F1 Team, which was in study and not declined (but Suzuki was looking for better opportunities, until arrived Magma Group).
    Now Super Aguri is with great financial problems and the offer from Agag and Campos is lying again on their table.

    What is this business for? Well, Alejandro Agag since long is trying to enter in the F1, between his interests are to grow his power in the FOM… That’s just guessing he might be the person who will change with Ecclestone’s rule. Anyway, the offer to Aguri is 50% of the team and convert it to a Chinese F1 team or a Spanish F1 team. Press sources still aren’t very clear with it.

    During 2005 Agag’s project was to create the first Chinese team in F1 with the consortium Citic as partner. Just after building the International track of Shangai, China might be looking for their drivers and a own team in F1 races.

    Now, joined strengths with Campos and presented one possible solution to the economical situation of Super Aguri. The team is lacking of support from Honda while they don’t get a strong partner. To Alejando Agag and Adrian Campos was interesting to get in the Formula One between 2009 or 2010 with the actual Campos Grand Prix team, but the possibility to get Super Aguri with Honda’s support was woo much sweet to leave it pass by. Telefonica (Spanish telephone operator) and Repsol (Spanish petroleum, gas and oils Company) are listed to come back as Sponsors in the treat with Super Aguri. So the team might be transformed to a Spanish consortium, with or without the support from Honda. Some weeks after the purchase new drivers would be set on the team to satisfy Spanish sponsor’s demands. There is a possibility to Sato and Davidson to remain, if the team decides to remain them until end of the season and looking for their progress.

    In the next weeks we will know more about their affair, if finally arrived the agreement or Aguri will look for somebody else. German press already confirmed Aguri sold the half of his team, while still any official communicate have been published. But the whole world is waiting this possible purchase will be done before Turkey or Monaco. If the purchase will be delayed again, means Super Aguri will disappear…

    This all is gamble with the situation, and I imagine any source is bullshit until the purchase from the F1 team is a reality.

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      I heard the Agag speculations before, it was before the start of the season and before the Magma deal was announced. Is this is again in the news ?

  3. OleaNo Gravatar says:

    Lets hope that everything will end up good for Super Aguri.

  4. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, many of the european press is again expecting something between Agag, Campos and Aguri.

    Specially in Spain, many newspapers and websites are filled with articles and comments about it. Last weekend in the race preview the Telecinco channel wanted to give understand everybody that the team might be Spanish soon if Agag finally arrive to an agreement with Aguri and Honda, I doubt while Honda is in the middle of all this, they just want to forget from the bills from Super Aguri and concentrate in themselves.

    Another spot is that German press, Auto Bild Motorsport, already talking the purchase is done.
    Comments within F1 Live means taht Agag haven’t interest in Aguri’s team, I think due the agreement which he have to reach to new sponsors and remain the source of components comming from Honda till 2008 season ends.

    So it could be he is interested in auctions or suddenly buy it when the Super Aguri team has cracked. That’s what I think that can happen if that all is true.

  5. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    The nightmare is comming to it’s end for Super Aguri.

    Super Aguri Official Site publish:

    JOINT STATEMENT FROM SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM AND WEIGL GROUP AG

    SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM and WEIGL Group AG are in final discussions concerning an agreement for a substantial shareholding of the Formula One team. SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM believes this to be a just and reasonable offer that would secure its racing future.
    Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal, SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM

    “We are happy that we have been able to resurrect talks between SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM and Franz Weigl at such short notice and to have the opportunity of presenting the WEIGL Group to the Honda Board once again. Such a partnership as the one proposed by WEIGL Group will allow us to race for the foreseeable future and I am hopeful that all parties will find the Group’s offer a realistic package.”
    Franz-Josef Weigl, CEO, WEIGL Group AG

    “WEIGL Group has decided to speak out openly at this decisive time for SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM. We would like to express sincere support for the team’s participation in the Formula One World Championship and the Group’s, together with its sponsors and Partners, earnest intention to provide ongoing investment to secure the team’s future.”

    Leafield, UK / Unterschleibheim, Germany
    2008/5/2

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      Getting more confusing…
      Late on Friday, Nick Fry to Reuters :

      “Since we have been looking for a partner for over a year… it would seem unlikely that someone appropriate is going to appear in the next 48 hours. It would appear unlikely that a company the size of Weigl is able to support a competitive Formula One team, unless of course there are other partners of which we have not been made aware.”

  6. marcNo Gravatar says:

    This Super Aguri deal is on again, off again more times than Britney Spears panties!

    As far as Nick Fry’s comments, I see his point, however, whats better letting the deal go through regardless if Weigl Group AG has the financial where-with-all to compete past this season or letting a team go belly-up now?

    I tend to believe they should be given a life-line to finish the year, that would give that many more months for Weigl to form a better financial plan or for another group to step in.

    marc’s last blog post..Interview: Franz Josef Weigl – “Super Aguri must survive, live and be successful”

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