It looks like the end of the F1 dream for Adrian Campos, at least for now. Jose Ramon Carabante (previously a shareholder in Campos Meta team) has taken full control of the team. Colin Kolles (Jordan, Midland, Spyker, Force India) has replaced Adrian Campos as a team prinicipal. Chavski is back… The other people on Kolles’ team are Mike Krack (ex-BMW) and Geoff Willis (Honda, Red Bull).
There are reports circulating the web suggesting that Aguri Suzuki may be considering return to Formula One. Some sites refer to Reuters as the source while Reuters site refers to Japanese Sankei Sports. I looked up the Sankei Sports website, Google translated their article and … haven’t really found anything other than the sentence copied around by different news and F1 sites:
We expect some big changes in the look of the Formula 1 cars in 2009 but as the season progresses the cars change even without new rules. Let’s have a look how the 2008 F1 cars looked in Melbourne and compare them with their look in Brazil:
Ferrari – Melbourne
As reported earlier the assets of now defunct Super Aguri F1 team will be sold in auction later this month. The items for sale are to include Formula 1 car, transporters and tractor units, vehicles, race & test equipment, plant & machinery and merchandise (including clothing, luggage and personal accessories).
It has also been reported that Adrian Campos may be interested in buying what’s left of Super Aguri. This follows the earlier rumours about Campos and Agag buying into Super Aguri while the team was still (barely) alive and kicking. Campos’ interest in Super Aguri bits and pieces renewed some speculations that he may be planning Formula 1 entry. But if that would be the case, why wait till the team disappears and not buy into it while all the structure is in place and team is part of Formula 1 ?
Yes, it is possible that the still useful assets like transporters and factory equipment may now be available for bargain prices. But the team is no longer in Formula 1, people are gone and with all the changes coming to effect from 2009 season the Super Aguri Formula 1 car has now become only a collector piece.
Will the Super Aguri auction kickstart a new Formula 1 team project ? Very very unlikely …
Photo: Super Aguri
This is the first 2009 drivers posts that does not have rumours only. One 2009 F1 seat was confirmed last week – Mark Webber’s contract with Red Bull was extended for another year. He will however have new team mate following David Coulthard’s retirement announcement. Sebastian Vettel is everybody’s candidate …
There are reports that Toyota will confirm their current drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock for next season. It hasn’t happened yet though. This would mean that Kazuki Nakajima may stay with Williams for a while longer.
Same as last year a lot seems to depend on the next move by Fernando Alonso. He is not planning to make any announcements before Italian Grand Prix in September and some teams may wait for his situation to clear up before making any moves.
Some people may have hoped that someone will come out, buy what is left of Super Aguri and perhaps start a new team. Well it does not look like that is going to happen. The online auction of the Super Aguri assets will be conducted later this month. Witin this week the catalog of all the items should be published but there are few items already known to be for sale, a Super Aguri F1 car and the team’s transporter among them.
Getting hand on a piece of recent F1 history will probably require pretty fat wallet.
All we need is 2 weeks break between races and the rumour floodgates open. Let’s have a look what’s new since the second edition.
Robert Kubica has been doing well and so it comes as no surprise his future has been talked about quite a bit. Few innocent remarks to Italian paper La Stampa created two contradictory rumours. First linking Rosberg with BMW Sauber (as Kubica’s team mate) and then linking Kubica with a move to Ferrari. Sounds interesting but whom would Kubica replace ? Massa is under contract till 2010 and doing well right now (after shaky start to the season). There has been lots of talking about Raikkonen’s retirement but if I am not wrong that is part of the post 2009 future. All I can say about Kubica and Ferrari is that Kubica’s helmet matches the Ferrari colour scheme quite well as the picture above shows .
Fernando Alonso has dismissed the rumours about him signing for Ferrari, so now it is time to link him to BMW Sauber, now also a race winning car. It may help that Robert Kubica does not seem to mind having Alonso as a team mate. The question for me however is if Alonso would be OK with Kubica in the other car. At the moment all that is sure about Alonso’s future is that he has not made any decision on it, at least that is what he says.
A year ago Takuma Sato finished 6th and scored 3 points in Canada. His overtaking maneuvre on Fernando Alonso was one of the highlights of the entire 2007 Formula 1 season. Following that race team’s managing director Daniel Audeto was full of confidence predicted a race win for the team in 2008 …
“I am very happy because three points for us is a fantastic result. Now finally people will believe what I said before: that next year we are going to win our first Grand Prix. The team we have are very professional and very motivated. They work in the same direction, with no politics, no bureaucracy and no bullshit. We have had a team principal that really understands our business and we have a really good driver line-up.”
This is all of Super Aguri that I could see in Canada a year later at 2008 Canadian GP:
What a difference a year makes, 365 little days …
Now I really hope he has been misquoted or this story was made up or something. This is what Bernie Ecclestone is said to have said on demise of Super Aguri according to PA Sports:
“More room. It means we have a lot more room now because the teams are expanding like crazy with their hospitality units and their trucks and everything. We’re always running out of room. We’re not looking for 12 teams, we’re looking for ten.“
So the space for hospitality is what F1 is about, not the action on track … Hm, that explains a lot then …
The later part of the story on potential Super Aguri bail out by Bernie himself makes a bit more sense:
“I didn’t want to put in 100 million, which is what was needed. For somebody else it might have been okay, but it wasn’t for me.”
For those who do miss the Super Aguri, here is a video:
Almost exactly 2 years ago it looked like we will have full grid of 12 teams and 24 cars from 2008 season. On April 28, 2006 Prodrive were given the F1 entry. Max Mosley commented that “Prodrive have the best combination of financial backing, technical capability and motorsport experience.”
Almost exactly a year later, May 13, 2007, the new boys, Super Aguri, scored their first ever championship point after only 1 season and 4 races in Formula 1. Few months later, in August 2007, the news came out that the team’s title sponsor, SS United, does not pay. From then it was all downhill for Super Aguri …
In late November 2007, it became clear that we will not see 24 cars F1 grid in 2008. Prodrive have announced they will not enter Formula 1.
By the end of January 2008 Max Mosley expressed his doubts we will end the 2008 season with 11 teams. There were doubts whether Super Aguri will even make it for Australian GP. They just about made it to Melbourne for the season opener, but only 2 days later Dietrich Mateschitz announced he is putting his share in Toro Rosso up for sale …
Then came May 6, 2008 and the withdrawal of Super Aguri from Formula 1. This is all like the 2002 deja vu. Expectations of full grid for 2002 season thanks to Toyota’s entry to Formula only to see first Prost and then Arrows to disapear. The grid went from 11 teams down to 10 instead of up to 12 before the 2002 season was over …
The Super Aguri F1 team withdraw from F1 … That is the outcome of the talks between Honda board and Aguri Suzuki. The Weigl proposal was clearly not good enough …
Statement from Aguri Suzuki:
“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. 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.
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.”
About a year ago it still looked like 2008 will be a season with 12 teams and 24 cars with expected Prodrive entry. It will now continue with 10 teams and 20 cars only for the first time since beginning of 2006 season. This is the first time since 2002 Prost and Arrows demise that Formula One is loosing a team … Just a year ago (May 13, 2007) Super Aguri scored their first Formula 1 points at Spanish GP (takuma Sato, 8th) and went on to score 3 more 2 races later in Canada (Sato 6th after overtaking Fernando Alonso).
Will anybody pick up the bits and pieces and revive the team or is it gone for good ?
I realized this weekend that the 2008 Australian GP was the 10th Formula 1 race I went to. As I am getting ready for my 11th in about 1 month time this may be a good opportunity to recap the events that happened at the races I went to:
2004 Chinese Grand Prix
- Jacques Villeneuve returned to F1 with Renault
- In a taxi on the way to track I opened the China Daily paper I found in the hotel room. And there it was, small article announcing that Ford is leaving F1 at the end of the season. Jaguar is left looking for new owner, Jordan and Minardi start wondering what engines will they use…
- Rubens Barrichello wins his last Formula 1 race (this is true at the time of writing).
2005 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Takuma Sato got sick and Anthony Davidson raced for BAR-Honda instead
- Both BAR-Honda drivers, Button and Davidson, famously retired on lap 2 after engine failures
- Jacques Villeneuve spun off in front of me in Turn 1 and beached the car in gravel
- Jarno Trulli scored first ever podium for Toyota
2005 Chinese Grand Prix
- in the hotel room I read Red Bull is buying Minardi
- this race turned out to be the last race for Minardi, Jordan, Sauber and BAR in their former selves
- this was also last race for Barrichello in Ferrari and probably last Formula 1 race for Narain Karthikeyan
- Michael Schumacher colided with Christijan Albers… on the warm up lap …
- Juan Pablo Montoya colided with a loose manhole cover
- Narain Karthikeyan crashed heavily just after the banked corner leading to the long back straight
2006 Malaysian Grand Prix
- First 1-2 finish for Renault since they took the team over from Benneton
2006 German Grand Prix
- Jacques Villeneuve again crashed out in front of me in what turned out to be his last Formula 1 race, I saw the last of the former F1 champ in Formula 1
- some of my photos here