Formula One: Aguri call it quits

Japanese team Super Aguri are pulling out of Formula One racing after prolonged financial difficulties, founder Aguri Suzuki said on Tuesday.

“I have been very happy that I was able to achieve a miracle and become a team owner, but I have to make the difficult decision to withdraw,” Suzuki told a news conference.

Super Aguri was the first all-Japanese team in the Western-dominated sport, achieving a long-held ambition of the 47-year-old Suzuki.

But the team struggled after their 2006 debut and suffered a major blow last month when Britain’s Magma Group backed out of plans to acquire them.

“It had been my dream to become an F1 team owner,” Suzuki said, “but I have to put a close to the work.”

Honda, which supplies engines and other technical support to Super Aguri, reportedly provided an emergency financial injection to help them through the Spanish Grand Prix on April 27.

But Super Aguri were shut out of the latest F1 round at Istanbul amid reports that Honda does not want the team to be a drain on its own racing unit.

In their debut year the team, featuring former Honda driver and Japanese F1 icon Takuma Sato, scored no points. In 2007, Super Aguri won four points to finish second-last.

They have not scored any points after four races this season, with drivers Sato and Anthony Davidson of Britain both failing to finish in the opening race in Australia.

Their best result was Sato’s 13th place in Barcelona, where Davidson retired.

Super Aguri initially had all-Japanese constructors, engine and tyre suppliers, as well as Japanese drivers in Sato and Yuki Ide.

But Ide was stripped of his F1 licence after four races—partly because he was too slow—and was replaced by Frenchman Franck Montagny.

Suzuki was the first Asian on a F1 podium when he finished third at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix.—AFP

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