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
I was quite surprised when I read Tony Teixeira’s (A1 GP boss) outburst aimed at Vijay Mallya, the Force India F1 boss. I was also quite impressed by the strong and well aimed reply Mr. Mallya sent back. Here is quick summary just in case you missed out:
Tony Teixeira to Reuters:
“It’s the wrong message. I think Vijay is trying to set something up which is a long-term plan but it’s not the right message having Force India and non-Indian drivers. I think India wants to see India with Indian drivers. And India wants to see Indian drivers winning. Karthikeyan has proven that. I don’t see Force India winning a race in F1 for the next five years.”
“I think A1 for all intents and purposes brings through the right messages into India by saying that India, although not a motor sport racing nation, can win the World Cup and can beat the rest of the world.”
Vijay Mallya in response to Tony Teixeira:
“I am amused by the comments of Mr Teixeira, promoter of the A1GP series, on how Indians should view motorsport in general and Force India’s participation in the FIA Formula One World Championship in particular. Mr Teixeira is better advised to comment on his native South Africa and his self-styled World Cup of Motorsport that is nothing more than a standard single seater series. Trying to reach out to India’s youth by encouraging participation in and the temptation of winning a title in a series that does not even begin to compare with GP2 or F1 is just promoting mediocrity amongst young Indians who aspire to be World Class. This, indeed, is a wrong message which seems to be an act of desperation given the huge and growing support for Formula One and the Force India Formula One team.”
I am totally on Mallya’s side. And reading what other bloggers have to say it looks like I am not alone. I have nothing against A1 series. If people are willing to pay for it, participate in it and someone will actually watch it, then it is all good. To Teixeira’s credit he (and earlier his partner from Dubai) did manage to start a racing series that still survives. The teams fielded several F1 wannabies, F1 test drivers, former F1 drivers (Verstappen and Karthikeyan). One of the A1 GP race winners, Nelson Piquet jr. is racing in F1 this year. But, A1 si no World Cup of motorsport and giving it this ridiculous name will not make it one. The cars may be relatively powerful, but winning an A1 GP race is in my opinion on or perhaps even below par with winning any lower tier Formula race. I would rate Macau Formula 3 race way above the whole A1 GP championship any time you ask me …
Grandprix dot com has a story about the interview Radovan Novak, the general-secretary of the Autoclub of the Czech Republic and the President of the FIA’s Central European Zone gave to Radio Impuls on April 23, 2008. It has been over a week since the interview but it is probably understandable that it takes a while till something someone says on Czech radio makes a headline somewhere else.
The report on Grandprix dot com suggests that Nr. Novak supports a theory that McLaren may be behind the whole hooker set up. I went to Radio Impuls site, checked out the transcript of the interview and here is my attempt to translate as accurately as possible (but no guarantee) the part of the interview that Grandprix dot com talks about:
Q: When you said you talked with Max Mosley about the latest scandal that is shaking the F1 world, especially as team owners and some F1 drivers have spoken against Mosley, you seem to believe the explanation he has given you in private conversation, that it was all some sort of conspiracy (set up). Do you believe in this possibility and what kind of conspiracy this could be ?
A: I do not like to speculate on what kind of conspiracy (set up) this is. But I do believe this was a set up because the recent developments, when FIA following the lead of Mr. Mosley imposed significant fines suggest this could be the case.
Q: Do you mean McLaren ?
A: Yes, for example McLaren. But the team owners and F1 pilots are not all in an agreement over this issue. Some agree, some do not express any opinions, it is different everywhere. Some find it to be a problem, for example the Bahrain royal family, because their religion strongly oposes such behaviour. In my opinion, I do not know, it does not matter to people in South America, because they normally live like that, so it all hangs in balance. I think Mr. Mosley is now pulling the strings all over the world in order to get out of this with an honour and we will see how this all will end up.
If you find the answers a bit messy and confusing that is how they seem also in original . The “yes, for example McLaren” answer seems to be direct reposnse to the question about who is behind the set up, but the next sentence already talks about the whole Mosley scandal, not the alleged set up … I am quite interested to see how will South America react to the words of Mr. Novak once they find out what he thinks about their normal way of life …
In any case, Ron Dennis is not impressed:
“We have written to Mr Novak and are currently considering the appropriate route via which the remarks that have been attributed to him may be withdrawn or corrected. As I have consistently said whenever I have been asked about this, I categorically deny that I have anything to do with the News of the World investigation into Mr Mosley. Neither does anyone connected with the McLaren Group or the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, and neither does any agent or any other party acting on behalf of myself or anyone connected with the McLaren Group or the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team.”
I am going to be Bernie friendly for a while but only for a while. I totally forgot that the official F1 site has some videos now. Only after I received the email reminder that the video edit from Spanish GP is ready I went to check it out. The video is not too bad if all you expect is a quick 2 minutes sum up of all the incidents with few F1 babes and Nelson Piquet sr. added to the mix. But I think that FOM or whoever is in charge of keeping the official F1 site up could and should do better. They are still far behind the level of Sidepodcast people unfortunately for us Sidepodcast does not have an access to the FOM TV feed .
What would you want F1.com to include or ad to their video edits from races ?
You can see the official F1 video edits here.
It has been busy few days for me and it took me 2 days to finish the Spanish GP review. Here it comes finally… I apologize for a dull format without pictures this time .
Four races, three Ferrari wins, two 1-2 finishes, red cars leading both championships and Ferrari friendly Turkey track next … Things have turned around a bit since Melbourne …
After Fernando Alonso squeezed in between Raikkonen and Massa in qualifying there was a chance Renault may spoil the race for Ferrari. Massa’s good start put an end to those worries and from then on it was Ferrari’s race. The gap between them and Hamilton and Kubica was not that big but this may be down to the safety car period and Ferrari preserving the machinery towards the end of the race.
Hamilton returned to the podium for the first time since Melbourne. The race of both McLarens has been compromised by their qualifying. Fifth and sixth places on the grid are not the best places from where to launch the attack on the podium. The positive sign for McLaren is that they did not seem to be too much off the pace of Ferrari. The worry must be the BMW Sauber … The talking point of the race however was the heavy crash of Heikki Kovalainen. It looked very scary and to me even worse than the crash of Robert Kubica in Montreal last year. It is amazing to see how much protection the current F1 cars give to drivers. It is hard to believe that somebody can survive an impact like that with pretty much no injuries at all. At the same time crashes like this are a reminder that F1 is still a dangerous sport …