Barely a year on from his withdrawal from a sport he emotionally described as 'a piranha club', Aguri Suzuki has revealed that Super Aguri could be in-line for a shock return to competition in the top flight in Formula 1's new 'low-cost' era in 2010.
FIA President Max Mosley's optional £40 million budget cap – formally ratified for introduction next year by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris last week – has elicited interest from a number of teams, including a David Richards-led Aston Martin/Prodrive entry, iconic British marque Lola, North Carolina-based US GPE and leading GP2 Series contenders iSport International amongst others. Now, it would appear, Super Aguri can be added to that growing list as well – but only three new slots on the starting grid are up for grabs.
As a satellite Honda operation based in Leafield in Oxfordshire, Super Aguri competed in F1 from 2006 until four races into the 2008 campaign, notching up four points from 39 grand prix starts – all courtesy of Takuma Sato – but folding on 7 May, 2008 when it was confirmed that the team had gone into administration following the collapse of a major sponsorship deal with SS United Group Oil & Gas Company and the absence of any serious buyers.
Those teams adhering to the new budget cap – as little as a quarter of the present expenditure of some squads – will benefit from a range of technical freedoms unavailable to their unrestricted budget rivals [see separate story – click here
]. That, reckons team owner Suzuki – himself a veteran of some 64 grand prix starts – could be just the incentive that is needed to try again.
“If it's physically possible, I would certainly like to [return to F1], the 48-year-old told Japanese newspaper the Sankei Sports
, having blasted upon his departure twelve months ago: “It's a piranha club and I kind of feel that I don't want to stick my fingers back in. If someone wants to take part in Formula 1, I'm going to advise them that they better not.”
It is also rumoured that in the light of Brawn GP's stunning form in the opening phase of the 2009 campaign, Honda could be reconsidering its hasty pull-out at the end of last year, with the Brackley-based concern comfortably leading both the drivers' and constructors' title chases courtesy of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. The Ross Brawn-led team is currently being largely financed by Honda's £100 million pay-off.