The Lesser Known... Aguri Suzuki 08 Aug 2007
One of the few team principals to have actually raced, Aguri Suzuki has experienced both sides of the Formula One fence. Seventeen years ago he was scoring a famous podium finish for Lola in his home race at Suzuka. Now at the helm of the youngest team on the grid, he is beating engine suppliers Honda at their own game in only his second season.
As we switch the focus of our 'Lesser Known' series to team principals, we caught up with the man behind Super Aguri to discover just a little of what motivates him to take on the might of Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW et al every fortnight...
Q: Best part of being a team principal?
Aguri Suzuki: To have my own team has been a long held dream. Becoming a team principal feels as though I have arrived at an important destination in my career and it brings an immense sense of satisfaction.
Q: The most annoying?
AS: Waiting for the application to participate in the 2006 championship to be approved. We could not progress with our plans without it and it seemed like an eternity.
Q: Running a Formula One team is like...
AS: ...riding a motocross motorbike - there are so many ups and downs.
Q: What would you be if you weren't a team principal?
AS: Competing in other race categories in Japan and the USA.
Q: The first thing I do after a race is...
AS: ...jump on an aeroplane.
Q: Winning a race would mean...
AS: ...accomplishment - the purpose of participating has to be to win.
Q: What's your favourite place to relax?
AS: The plane cabin from Europe to Japan - I can get some sleep!
Q: Funniest thing you've read about yourself in the press?
AS: After we announced our participation in November 2005 quite a few journalists wrote, 'There is no chance Super Aguri will put a car on the grid in Bahrain in 2006'. I am extremely relieved that we were able to reach our goal.
Q: The most difficult decision you have had to make as a team principal?
AS: They are all difficult, whether they are decisions relating to budget or the many small day-to-day decisions. In their own way, they are all equally challenging.
Q: Best time during a race weekend?
AS: When both cars reach Q2 or when we score a championship point.
Q: Formula One racing and politics is like...
AS: Formula One is like a small village and village politics influence all the rules and regulations we work to.
Q: Your best moment as a team principal?
AS: Seeing the satisfaction on the faces of our entire team when we have a good result.
Q: What's something you always wanted to do but never had the time?
Q: What was your first race as a team principal like?
AS: I was surprised with the lack of speed of our car, it was just so incredibly slow. I wondered how we could ever make the cars fast enough to compete in Formula One.
Q: Who would you like to be for one day? And why?
AS: A driver. To be able to concentrate purely on my driving.
Q: Does money change everything?
AS: I wouldn't say everything, but it does allow you to change or influence some things. However, for me, human relations are the most important thing - and money is no substitute for good relations and is no help if your relationships are not working.