Rumours abound that Spanish millionaire businessman Alejandro Agag has taken a 50 per cent stake in the Super Aguri F1 team, securing its immediate future in the top flight.
The team has been on rocky ground since 2007 title sponsor SS United defaulted on payments and forced owner Aguri Suzuki to source further backers for the final few races of the year. No development was made to the Honda-based SA06 from mid-season, leading to Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson dropping away from the surprising performances they had displayed early on, and causing tongues to wag about the future.
Now, however, Germany's Auto Bild
claims that 37-year old Agag has completed a purchase he was first linked to last summer, with as much as half of the team being acquired, possibly in partnership with GP2 team boss and former F1 backmarker Adrian Campos.
Although not widely known as an F1 figure, Agag has made some powerful allies in the top flight, counting Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore among his business partners, most recently through the takeover of the Queens Park Ranger football team. Formerly a politician, he retired after marrying the daughter of Spanish prime minister José María Aznar and devoted himself to building up an array of businesses, leading to his current financial status.
He had previously been linked to F1 projects with both Spyker and, to a lesser degree, Prodrive, before returning his attention to Aguri, with whom he was first linked back in August of 2007. Should reports of the buy-in be true, it remains to be seen whether Agag will flex any muscle over driver choice, with Sato and Davidson the only pairing yet to be officially confirmed, despite the FIA prematurely listing them as SAF1 drivers for 2008.
Agag's links with Campos and Spain could bring pressure on Suzuki to bring in one of their favoured drivers to replace either of the present incumbents, with Davidson - despite his impressive debut year - the most likely fall guy. Overlooked by Spyker, Spaniard Roldan Rodriguez has been mentioned as one possible replacement, as has Giorgio Pantano, who played a big part in turning around Campos' fortunes in GP2.
Interestingly, Super Aguri is reported as due to miss this week's group testing in Valencia.