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Last Updated: Friday, 29 February 2008, 10:36 GMT
Aguri allay fears over new season
Super Aguri
Super Aguri are reliant on Honda for much of their financial support
Formula One minnows Super Aguri insist they will be ready for the first grand prix of the season on 16 March.

The Honda-backed team had to cancel testing in Spain earlier this month and have been battling to find investment ahead of the opening race in Australia.

Aguri have been in talks to ascertain Honda's level of commitment and said they were confident about the future.

"We'll be on the grid at Melbourne - we're not worried at all," said Aguri business partner Fumito Akita.

With the F1 season only two weeks away, time is running out for the perennial strugglers - who operate on the smallest budget of all the teams - to finalise their funding and technical arrangements.


But Akita insisted that the last-minute preparations were not unusual.

"We are usually scrambling to be ready for the start of the season," stated Akita. "It was very tight last year and this year is following the same pattern"

Akita insisted that the team had cancelled pre-season testing in Spain because of a logistical problem with car parts rather than more serious issues.

"The cancellation was because some parts hadn't arrived in time," he added.

Aguri are still hoping to attract new investors, with Honda - who also run their own F1 team - providing the vast majority of the financial backing needed.

How much any potential stake in the team would be depends on the conditions the investor has

Super Aguri business partner Fumito Akita

"Talks are still going on and I'm told there are three potential investors," said Akita.

"Obviously, we have to think of the future and what's best for the team."

Team chief Aguri Suzuki, a former F1 driver, founded Super Aguri in 2005 and Akita conceded the team's long-term future was somewhat uncertain, with the possibility of a takeover still on the cards.

"It might be 100% but obviously any sponsors or investors who leave the infrastructure there and back the team to improve results would be ideal," he commented.

"How much any potential stake in the team would be does depend on the conditions the investor has. But even if it's a 100% stake you can't sensibly get rid of the team per se.

"If you have no Aguri Suzuki you would probably lose Honda as engine suppliers. If investors come in and say they can bring in BMW engines that's a different story.

"But even if we give up the 100% share it doesn't necessarily mean the owner or the team name goes with it."

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