Q&A with Super Aguris Takuma Sato 05 May 2008
Its been a tough few months for Super Aguri and it seems the battle is not over yet. On Friday the financially-troubled team announced plans for a new deal to keep them racing, but that hasnt stopped continued media speculation over whether they will compete in this weekends Turkish Grand Prix. Speaking on his official website, driver Takuma Sato gave his thoughts on the current situation
Q: A difficult but very relevant question to start with - the news that the Super Aguri trucks apparently haven't been allowed to enter the paddock in Turkey, what do you know about this?
Takuma Sato: I was simply very surprised when I got the news from my manager. I have no idea why this has happened as I understood that no decision has been made by Honda yet and that a decision will be made in the next few days about whether we will be able to race or not. I heard that FOM (Formula One Management) was told that we are not racing so they wont let the trucks in, but I don't understand why they have been told this when no decision has been made yet.
Q: This leads me on to ask about the current situation at Super Aguri?
TS: Really still uncertain. As everyone knows now, the recent DIC investment with the Magma Group failed right at the last moment, which has created a huge problem for the team. Everyone thought this deal was going to happen and I had spent a lot of time with Magma and was excited about their plans to develop the team. So I was very disappointed that it didn't happen and it was only with great support from Honda that we were able to race at Barcelona. It is worth mentioning that it is only just over a week since this deal collapsed, a deal everyone thought was basically done. So for Aguri-san and the rest of the SAF1 management to try to find a new solution in a week is almost impossible.
Q: I understand that Weigl has made an offer to the team, what can you tell us about that?
TS: I met them at the Spanish GP and they have the great passion to get the team over the current difficulties. They do not seem to be scared by the challenge and in that way I would say that they fit our philosophy well and it would be a great partner for the team. It is a great compliment to the team that so soon after Magma failed, another investor has come in with a survival plan for the team. It just shows the team has a great reputation.
Q: So if the team wants to accept the offer, the final decision will rest with Honda. What do you think they will do?
TS: Obviously Honda has always been central to the whole Super Aguri team. We have always worked so closely together and I understand that they are in a difficult position right now due to DIC letting everyone down at the last minute, but I hope they will be able to continue the fighting spirit and give the team some more time to get the new investment in place. We have showed over the past two years how efficient we can be as a very little team and given the chance and support I believe we can be very competitive.
Q: Just like you overtook a McLaren in Canada last year?
TS: Who would have thought that was possible? We need Honda support more then ever now and I am just hoping that they will be able to find a satisfactory solution. Honda are famous for their Racing Spirit and I am sure this will not desert them now.
Q: According to some press reports, Super Aguri may not survive the current problems. What's your comment about this?
TS: I really don't want to think too much about this as I need to keep my focus on racing. It is difficult enough to concentrate on the main job at the moment. But having said that, personally I am already looking forward to Suzuka 2009 when the Japanese GP goes back there. I know how important that event will be for Honda, the fans and of course myself. The thought of not being there is too impossible to think about. I just want a competitive package so I can challenge to the ultimate performance in front of the thousands of fantastic and loyal fans in Japan and around the world.