Rumours have resurfaced suggesting that Super Aguri F1's place on the grid could be in jeopardy should Honda decide to tighten its belt and concentrate on its works effort next season.

Reports in the German media suggest that the Japanese giant's decision could be made this week, potentially leading to another F1 team falling by the wayside, or hoping to be picked up by an investor looking for its 15 minutes of fame. As Jordan showed in the years before current owner Vijay Mallya came on board to rechristen the team Force India, deep pockets are not always the key to longevity in the top flight.

Although essentially created to give Takuma Sato a place in F1 after being axed from the BAR-Honda operation in 2005, Super Aguri had hoped to be able to stand on its own two feet as time went on. Despite lucking in with this year's car, essentially a made-over version of last year's works machine, the team struggled for finance, with much-trumpeted title sponsor SS United failing to keep to its promises and forcing development to halt as the year went on. Although it attracted a handful of minor backers in time for its home grand prix in October, Super Aguri then laid off 30 staff as the season ended, raising the first questions over its future.

Now Auto Motor und Sport reports that Honda bosses will get together and decide whether it is viable to keep propping its B-team up, as it had to do in the latter stages of 2007. With Ross Brawn coming on board at Brackley for next season, Honda may decide that it ought to focus its attentions in one direction as it attempts to recover from its own disastrous 2007 campaign.

Super Aguri stands to benefit from an FOM pay-out ahead of next season, thanks to the points scored by Sato in Spain and Canada, but the sum will not be enough to see the team through another year with some serious penny pinching. And the customer car row rumbles on, with a compromise thought to have been agreed in the wake of Spykers protests against, not only SAF1, but also Toro Rosso, was scuppered by the Faenza team.

Honda's decision will be clouded by one benefit from keeping Aguri afloat, however. As was proven in recent sessions in Spain, the works team can generate data from its junior, not only by getting it to run developments, but also potential drivers, thereby getting around the limits placed on teams in an attempt to cut testing costs.

Should it be cut adrift, however, SAF1 could prove attractive to those wanting to break into F1, the customer car wrangle not withstanding. It opened talks with Alejandro Agag earlier this season with a view to the Spanish businessman, who has interests in the Campos GP2 operation, investing in the team, while Campos, too, has F1 aspirations.

Super Aguri was not available for comment when contacted by Crash.net, but a lot more should become clear if, and when, the customer car row is settled.

 

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