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12/06/07: Luca Felipe of Italy test drives the Super Aguri car during Formula One Testing at the Circuito de Jerez in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

It's no secret around the F1 paddock that Super Aguri is in big financial trouble. The team, founded by former Japanese F1 driver Aguri Suzuki, made its debut at the start of the 2006 season after buying its place on the grid – unlike most new teams that were formed out of previous entries. Aguri runs on a shoe-string budget, fielding old cars and relying heavily on Honda's patronage to pay the enormous bills of operating a Formula One team.

Emerging reports now suggest that Honda has decided to continue supporting the team for another season. Because Honda is believed to supply a big chunk of Aguri's budget (as well as its engines and chassis) – effectively making it Honda's "B-squad" – the Japanese auto giant has the power to decide Super Aguri's fate. But public pressure on Honda in Japan to have its former pilot Takuma Sato driving in F1 has motivated the company to continue funding the second racing outfit. Honda would not commit beyond next season, however, and if Aguri continues to embarrass the Honda F1 Team with its transcendent performance, they may find themselves holding their hats again a year from now.

The news means that Aguri joins Force India as one of two teams with seats still available for the 2008 season. Sato is all but guaranteed his place, but Aguri could go any which way for its second driver. (Italian driver Luca Fillippi, a rising talent in motorsports, was connected with a drive for Aguri, but opted to sign for GP2 instead.) Ralf Schumacher and Tonio Liuzzi are both in search of new drives for next season, along with a slew of new hopefuls. Let the courtship begin.

[Source: F1i.com, Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Getting beaten by your own B-Team is never good... Embarrassing
      • 7 Years Ago
      Still one of the highlights for me last season was Sato passing Alonso at Montreal. I hope Super Best Friends hangs around for along time.

      Honda was just a mess last season whether it truly was wind tunnel problems or whatever. I think their main problem was that god awful paint job they used.
        • 7 Years Ago
        it actually wasnt a paint job. it was bunch of stickers... thats prolly why they didnt do so well.. added weight of those stickers.... :)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honda's excuse last season was incorrect wind tunnel calibration, that rendered most of their aero designs useless on track in real world conditions. With Ross Brawn on board, let's hope silly mistakes like that won't be made again. The engines made good power (as evidenced by their trap speed and performance on the faster circuits) but the cars weren't aerodynamically efficient.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Shame; Aguri is one of the nicest people...but I guess nice doesn't win races...