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