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Archive for May, 2008

Madness at Monaco

The last wet race at Monaco was in 1996 (before traction control was re-introduced). Oliver Panis won the race in his Ligier after starting 14th. The race set a Formula One record as only 3 drivers managed to finish. Nobody was expecting quite as manic a race last Sunday, but only 6 cars retiring doesn’t tell the whole story. Can rain really make that much difference at Monaco?

Last years race was uneventful at best. I really can’t think of anything interesting to say about the 2007 outing. The McLarens lead the whole weekend and Alonso completely dominated. Far more happened off the track than on it. The same could be said for 2006 with Micheal Schumacher’s antics in qualifying being the talk of the weekend. It seems this year the sport is slowly returning to the track action. There are still big stories going around behind the scenes about Max Mosley and so on but only 6 races have gone and there is still plenty of racing to talk about. The Monaco Grand Prix has always been a strange one though. It seems to require maximum concentration, yet when it rains, maximum concentration isn’t enough. Maybe this is the reason for Ayrton Senna’s success at the streets. It requires a little something more in the wet that not all racing drivers have. Whatever it is, it makes for great racing, and with two more Monaco-Style street races still to come we should hopefully see more. Last years most eventful race was arguably the Canadian GP, so with Montreal returning next week, we should be in for a cracker.

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Monaco Grand Prix ’08

Last weekend saw an epic Monaco Grand Prix take place in the streets of Monte-Carlo. The Teams and Drivers faced changing weather conditions as the Monaco circuit once again proved its self to be the most challenging track and the Ultimate in street racing. Lets try to calm down enough to take a look at the whole weekend in detail.

Free Practice One
The first two practice sessions took place earlier than normal on Thursday. The Torro Rosso’s were the first out, with Sebastain Bourdais beating his teammate time. The other teams began to join them and eventually the Ferrari’s and McLaren’s made their way out of the pit lane. The Ferrari’s went strait to the top but didn’t stay there long as Lewis Hamilton jumped up into first. Meanwhile, David Coulthard was halfway round his first full lap when he pulled to the side of the road, failing to set a time. Red flags brought a halt to the session with half an hour left. A drain cover had become loose on the circuit and was leaking. 17 minutes later the session restarted. The yellow flags were waved not long after, as Jarno Trulli became the first casualty of the Monte Carlo barriers. He broke his rear suspension. Nick Heidfeld also had to retire around the same time, due to a mechanical problem. At the front, Hamilton was still leading but with ten minutes remaining it was Kimi Raikkonen that stole his lead. Hamilton failed to respond and finished second. Kovalainen was third ahead of Massa and Rosberg.

Free Practice Two
Free Practice two got underway in slightly warmer conditions to FP1. The Williams drivers were first to set quick time, knocking BMW’s Nick Heidfeld to third. Raikkonen and Hamilton continued their fight for the top from the Morning session. Hamilton’s first lap was faster than the world champion’s time. Nico Rosberg wasn’t happy in third, however, and pushed his way back up to second in front of Kimi Raikkonen. Felipe Massa was trying hard to match his team mate’s time. He ended up trying a little too hard, though, and collided with a bollard on the track. Then Nico Rosberg was pushed back down to third by Fernando Alonso. Rosberg switched to the super-soft tyres and forced his way past Hamilton into first. Trulli hit the wall for the again but his car was undamaged and he continued. Piquet spun into the barriers but, surprisingly, he also continued. His team mate then did exactly the same thing at exactly the same corner but he was going slightly faster and did damage his car. The rear wing was hanging of the car and he had to shake it off to get round the lap. The session was red flagged whilst the debris was cleared. When the session was restarted, most of the drivers had switched the the super-softs. Raikkonen pulled himself back up to third and Hamilton did one better than in Session one, finishing on top. Rosberg stayed in second with Massa and Kovalainen in fouth and fifth.

Free Practice Three
Heavy rain had fallen overnight and when Saturday dawned, the track was wet. The session was declared wet with more rain expected during FP3. Felipe Massa was first to set a time, with Rosberg behind in second. Raikkonen came out to go right up to first but Massa took the position back. The McLarens stole Ferrari’s limelight, however. Hamilton went to the top, continuing his performance from Thursday. Kovalainen was going even faster and forced Lewis down to second. He continued his pace and just before he finished a second faster lap, he spun. The rear of the car was damaged but he was unharmed. The session was red flagged whilst the car was removed. Once the session was restarted, it had begun to rain heavier. Everyone stayed in the pit lane until the last few minutes but nobody could match Heikki’s time. He finished first with Hamilton in second. Raikkonen, Rosberg and Kubica were third, fourth and fifth.

Qualifying
The track had dried between the morning practice session and quali one there was a 20% chance of rain throughout the whole of qualifying. The air temperature was slightly hotter.
Session One
Heikki Kovalainen was the first of the front-runners to set a time. The Ferrari’s then came out and Massa stole first from Heikki. Kovalainen took the position back only to be again demoted to second by Nico Rosberg. Raikkonen and Hamilton both had brief apperances at the top but it was Heikki Kovalainen that took the lead towards the end of the session. Felipe Massa wasn’t done though and proved that Ferrari were in with a chance by beating Heikki to first. Hamilton finished in third. Eliminated from the rest of qualifying were Bourdais, Piquet, Vettel, Sutil and Fisichella.
Session Two
With the threat of rain increasing, the drivers headed out earlier than normal to get some laps in. Fernando Alonso was the first out to set a time. He was beaten by Kimi Raikkonen who was in turn beaten by Felipe Massa. Nico Rosberg slotted into third. It looked like Lewis Hamilton was about to smash in first but he had a slight wobble and only managed third. Nico Rosberg moved up into first later on in the session, but most mid-field drivers left it to the last minute. Towards the end of the session, the drivers in danger of dropping out made their last chance flying laps. Before some of the could get round, however, a tyre was seen making its way along the track at speed. The yellow flags came out as David Coulthard had slamed into the barrier at the exit from the tunnel and flown down the exit road. He was unhurt. The top three were Massa, Rosberg and Hamilton. Glock, Button, Heidfeld, Nakajima and Barrichello failed to get to the top-ten knockout.
Session Three
David Coulthard would not take part in the third session of qualifying, despite setting a fast enough time, after his car was was wrecked during the high-speed accident in Quali two. Kovalainen was first to set a time which was pushed to second by Hamilton. It was Raikkonen that had set the fastest time, however, once all the drivers had been out. Both Massa and Kubica made small mistakes put they slotted in third and second. With nearly a minute of the session left, Kimi Raikkonen completed his lap of a 1:15.815. Then, to most peoples surprise, both McLarens failed to match that time. Perhaps even more surprising though, it was Felipe Massa that stole first from Raikkonen with a 1:15.787 to take pole position for the race. Kimi settled for second with the McLarens on row 2.
Race
After qualifying both Giancarlo Fisichella and David Coulthard joined Sebastian Vettel in the list of drivers with 5 place grid penalties. Coulthard started from 15th whilst Fisichella started from last. It had rained in the city streets overnight and just before the drivers headed of on their parade lap it began raining again. It didn’t take long for the track to get wet. Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren stalled on the grid before the warm-up lap and was made to start from the pits. All the drivers made their way round the parade lap safely and lined up on the grid with a Kovalainen shaped gap at the back of row 2. Raikkonen didn’t get the best of starts when the lights went out. His hesitation let Hamilton take his second place. Massa did get a good start and stayed in first. Rosberg lost his front wing by touching Alonso at the hairpin. Button and Glock also lost their front wings and all three dived into the pits. Hamilton was trying hard to keep up with Massa and he hit the barriers, deflating his right rear tyre. He also pitted by suprisingly came out in 5th. Alonso also damaged his tyre after hitting a barrier and pitted. David Coulthard ended his weekend after aquaplaining in to the same barriers and Sebastain Bourdais ended up copying him, slamming into the back of the Red Bull after aquaplaing himself. The saftey car came out whilst the car was retrived. Raikkonen was given a drive-through once the saftey car went back in the pits. He didn’t have his tyres fitted before the three minutes prior to when the race began. Alonso had switched to extreme-wet tyres during his stop and was quickly making his way back up the order. He was being held up by Heidfeld until he had had enough. The Spainard tried to take Nick at the hairpin and got it badly wrong. He collided with the German causing traffic behind. Heidfeld escaped without damage but Alonso returned to the pits for another front wing. Meanwhile, at the front, Felipe Massa made a mistake going into turn one. He recovered quickly but not in time the stop Robert Kubica pass him, and take the lead of the race. Kubica pitted from second and would have come out behind Raikkonen, had the world champion not been distracted and, similar to his team mate, run strait ahead at turn one. Massa pitted from the lead and managed to get back past Kubica, taking second. Hamilton was now leading the race. Meanwhile, Adrain Sutil had stayed out of trouble and was up to fifth. He set the fastest lap of the race so far. Both Renaults pitted and switched to the dry tyres. The track was still wet but drying quickly. It seemed they switched too soon, though. Both drivers struggled and Piquet ended up in the wall and retired. As the track dried, more drivers switched to the dry compound and evantually the race leader, Lewis Hamilton, pitted and changed to the dries. He had enough of a lead to keep first. Massa then pitted but this time failed to stay in front of Kubica, dropping to third. Hamilton’s massive lead was about to ruined as the Williams of Nico Rosberg crashed heavily into the barriers spreading debris all over the track. Rosberg was unhurt but the saftey car was released again. Once the race restarted, Adrain Sutil had managed to climb to fourth place in his Force India, leading Raikkonen. With eight laps left, Kimi lost control leving the tunnel. He managed to fight the car down the end of the strait but slammed into the back of Sutil. Both drivers made it round to the pits. Raikkonen rejoined outside the points in ninth but Sutil was forced to retire. Hamilton won the race with Kubica second and Massa third.
Championship
With Hamilton winning the race and Raikkonen failing to score points, Lewis regains control of the championship. McLaren pull ahead in the constructors championship, now ahead of BMW by two points. Montreal, Canada is the next stop on the calendar.

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The most glamorous Grand Prix is back for the 56th time. Monaco sees host to round six of the championship. Once again all the news, preparation and a recap of last years race in the streets of Monte-Carlo.

Last Years Race
Fernando Alonso grabbed pole for 2007 race, with his McLaren teammate, Lewis Hamilton, behind him in second. Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella lined up on row two. Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber qualified in front of the BMW’s on row four. After crashing in Quali one, Kimi Raikkonen started from sixteenth. The race started very cleanly with nobody failing to get round the first corner. Fernando Alonso stayed in the lead, while Nick Heidfeld snatched two places from Webber and Rosberg. Luizzi came very close to taking Raikkonen into the hairpin and had another try at Casino, only to crash into the barriers and retire. Within no time, the McLarens had pulled away and began lapping traffic at the back. At the first round of pit stops, Lewis Hamilton had his strategy changed from a one-stopper to a two-stopper giving him little hope of taking first from Alonso. The Spaniard went on to win the race leading Hamilton, Massa, Fisichella, Kubica, Heifeld, Wurz and Raikkonen.

Information

  • Official Name: 2008 Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco
  • Date: 22 – 25 May 2008
  • Round: 6
  • Circuit: Circuit de Monaco
  • Location: Monte Carlo
  • Race No: 791
  • First Race: 1950
  • Laps: 78
  • Lap Distance: 2.08 Miles (3.34km)
  • Lap Record: 1:14.439, M.Schumacher
  • BST Race Start: 13:00

    Preparation and Predictions
    A good qualifying performance is essential in Monaco. Overtaking opportunities are pretty much non-existent and the chances of the drivers improving on their starting positions are slim, quite the opposite to Turkey. Fernando Alonso has won the past two races, however his chance for three in a row is unlikely. It should all depend on his qualifying strategy. McLaren are the favourites for the race, having finished with a one-two last year. Ferrari are leading the Constructors championship by 19 points, with both their drivers on top in the standings. McLaren need to get a win in Monaco to stop the Italian team getting too far ahead.

    News
    Toro Rosso’s Sebastain Vettel will carry a five place grid penalty after being forced to fit a new gearbox in the new car. The Toro Rosso STR3 makes it’s debut in Monaco this week but a new transmission design is incompatable with the gearbox used by Vettel in the STR2B at Turkey. His French teammate, Sebastain Bourdais, will escape the penalty after failing to finish the Turkish race. In other news, Giancarlo Fisichella celebrates his 200th Grand Prix start, just two weeks after Rubens Barrichello made history with his 257th race. Only 11 drivers have broken the 200 race mark.

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    >See our Turkish Race Preview

    The Turkish Grand Prix is over. After some of the best overtaking seen in the sport for a long time and strategy choices that made the race go right down to the last laps, the Istanbul Park circuit remains a popular all-round track and a place for Felipe Massa to improve his Career. Lets have look at all the action over the weekend from free practice one to the chequered flag.

    Free Practice One
    The Turkish Grand Prix got underway with some unusual weather. As well as a chance of rain, the air temperature only was only 14 degrees at the start of the session. This weather was rare for Turkey and not expected by the teams. Giancarlo Fisichella was the first out to start the installation laps in his Force India, however he left the pit lane before the session has began and whilst the red light was still on. Race control decided to penalise him three grid places for the race. Fisichella seemed to be the only driver eager to get going though. Some last-minute track cleaning had left the circuit wet and it took 40 minutes before anybody decided to head out. Sebastain Bourdais was the first out once the track had dried. Kovalainen was the first to set a quick time before the drivers started to struggle with the conditions and low tire temperatures. Trulli, Hamilton and Massa spun whilst many other drivers ran wide. Massa eventually beat Heikki’s time, pushing him down to second. Hamilton set third fastest with his former teammate, Fernando Alonso in fourth. Jenson Button finished fifth and his record-breaking teammate started his weekend in eighth.

    Free Practice Two
    During the Friday lunch break, rain hit the circuit. The rain cleared in time for Free Practice Two however, and most of the track had dried. Kimi Raikkonen wasted no time in setting off and posted the fastest time of 1:27:54. Not long after, the red flags came out after Mark Webber went wide at the exit to turn 6 in his Red Bull. He made heavy contact with the barriers, wrecking the front end of his car. The Australian was unhurt in the accident. Jenson Button continued his good form when the session was restarted slipping into seventh. Alonso and Boudais made a journey on the grass but their mistakes were overshadowed by Timo Glock who lost his Toyota’s nose whilst attempting to rejoin the track after running wide in turn 4. Massa failed to beat Kimi’s time towards the end of the session slotting in second and so did Heikki Kovalainen with his best lap slower than the Ferrari’s. Lewis Hamilton did manage to split the Ferrari’s, however, and David Coulthard beat Heikki’s time to finish fourth, wrapping up Friday’s action.

    Free Practice Three
    Saturdays action got underway, well, very slowly actually. When the drivers finally left their pit garages it was Lewis Hamilton that set the first time to beat. Eventually all the drivers, but Coulthard, had set a time and the battle at the top were between the Renaults. The McLarens managed to get in front of them taking the top spots whilst Kimi was not where he wanted to be struggling down the grid. Massa manged to get in front of the McLarens taking the lead. With roughly half an hour left, David Coulthard left the Red Bull garage and quickly went up to third. When the last few minutes arrived Coulthard slid into first only to be pretty much immediately beaten by his Australian teammate who finished in first making up for his crash on Friday. Alonso also beat Coulthard managing second meaning the top three all had Renault engines in the back of their car. Rosberg finished fourth in front of Massa, Trulli and Hamilton.

    Qualifying
    After Super Aguri’s withdrawal from the sport, only five drivers will drop out of sessions one and two instead of six. No rain was predicted for the whole of qualifying before session one began.
    Session One
    Timo Glock was the first to set a quick time and stayed in first until the Ferrari’s and McLaren’s left the pits. Raikkonen beat the Toyota’s time. He was in beaten by Kovalainen who in turn was beaten by Hamilton. Massa was in fourth. Suprisingly, the Ferrari’s went out again despite confirming themselves in session two. Massa improved to beat Hamilton’s time and finish in first. Trulli slotted in fourth and the BMW’s finished 7th and 9th. Knocked out of the first session were Nakajima, Piquet, Bourdais, Fisichella and Sutil.
    Session Two
    Nothing much happened at the beginning of Quali 2 with nobody bothering to set a fast time until the last ten minutes. Alonso, Webber, Trulli and Coulthard were the first few to set a time only to have them smashed by Kimi Raikkonen who stayed in front for the rest of the session. Massa, Hamilton and Kovalainen failed to beat him time on their best laps. Kovalainen did improve to beat his British teammate whilst Robert Kubica split the Ferrari’s pushing Massa to third. Rosberg, Barrichello, Button, Vettel and Glock were refused entry to the top ten knockout.
    Session Three
    Timo Glock was the first driver to set a time, five minutes into the session. Lewis Hamilton wasted no time in beating the Toyota Driver’s time of 1:30.299, taking the lead. Raikkonen, Kubica and Alonso all set times ahead of Hamilton but their efforts were overshadowed by Felipe Massa who set a super fast time of 1:27.896. Hamilton started to have problems keeping control of the car and pitted to change his tyres to the slower harder compound. He failed to beat Massa’s time with a 1:27.923. Kovalainen did manage to beat Massa’s time, just, with 1:27.808. Massa crossed the line next and smashed the time set by the McLaren driver, securing pole position for the third year in a row with 1:27.617. Kimi Raikkonen finished in fourth in front of Robert Kubica.

    Race
    The drivers completed their formation lap and lined up on the grid, waiting for the lights. Which took a very long time to come on. Massa made a good start to retain the lead with no challenges. Hamilton made an even better start behind him, though easily taking his teammate for second place. Both Kovalainen and Raikkonen dropped down another place after Robert Kubica took them for third. Kimi dropped down even more places after being boxed in by Heikki on turn 1. Meanwhlie, at the back, Giancarlo Fisichella went into turn 1 way too fast and flew over the top of Kazuki Nakajima’s Williams to retire for the third time in a row in a first corner crash at Turkey. Nakajima managed to get to the pits with no rear wing but was forced to retire. The safety car was brought out whilst debris from the crash was cleared. When the pit lane reopened, Sutil pit for a new front wing after losing it in his teammates accident. Vettel pit for a puncture and so did second place starter, Heikki Kovalinen who re-entered the race in last place. Kimi Raikkonen started making his way back up the field, taking Alonso for fourth. The Spanish Renault driver was the first in the pits rather early. Hamilton had done a good job keeping up with Massa, he was next in the pitlane. His stop was very short, suggesting a three-stop strategy. Meanwhile, Kovalainen began his journey back up the grid, passing Sutil and Vettel. Massa pit and came back out infront of Hamilton. Kubica also pit from third. Raikkonen began his work and after his stop, he left the pit lane infront of Kubica moving him up to third. Meanwhile, right at the front, Lewis Hamilton overtook Felipe Massa to take the lead of the race. He began to pull away at an astonishing rate form Massa, again suggesting he was three stopping and he was lighter on fuel. He wasn’t leading for long however, as he made his way to the pits confiming he was on a three stopper. He rejoined third. Bourdais spun and buried himself in the gravel, but then the attention was back on Kovalianen. He took Timo Glock just before the end of the lap, but Glock didn’t give up and repassed him. Heikki took him again down the main strait. More action was taking place just ahead. Nelson Piquet was trying hard to get past Jenson Button. Evantually he did and Kovalainen took the advantage and got past Button too. Massa, Kubica and Raikkonen all made thier second stop with no troubles. Then Hamilton made his third and final stop and came out infront of Kimi, snatching third from the iceman. The last piece of action came, rather unsuprisingly, from Kovalainen. He passed Rosberg, only for Nico to come back at him like Glock did. Heikki passed him again for eigth and a championship point. Kovalainen still had to make a stop, however, and finished twelth. Massa won his third Turkish Grand Prix in a row. Hamilton came second with Raikkonen third. The retirements were Fisichella, Nakajima and Bourdais.
    Championship
    Kimi Raikkonen stays on top in the Drivers Championship and Felipe Massa has pulled himself right back into contention. He is equal on points with Hamilton in second. In the Constuctors, Ferrari are 19 points from BMW and McLaren are now 2 behind the German team. Next we move to the most glamourous and one of the most popular locations on the calendar. The Monte-Carlo street circuit, Monaco.

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    The Turkish Grand Prix returns to Formula One for the fourth time. In the first MOF1 race preview I’m gonna give you a glimpse into last years race and all the facts and figures for the weekend plus an idea of what’s happening and what to expect from Istanbul Park.


    Last Years Race
    Qualifying saw Felipe Massa Grab Pole position in a much later stage of the season in August. Lewis Hamilton lined up behind him with Kimi Räikkönen heading row 2 in front of Fernando Alonso. The BMW’s lined up on Row 3 with Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen behind in 7th. Massa made a brilliant start on the Sunday pulling away from Hamilton immediately and Kimi got the better of the Brit on the line pushing Lewis down to third. Alonso had an even worse start, however, pushed from Fourth down to sixth by the BMW’s. Fisichella’s Renault went out of control in turn one, touching the back of Janro Trulli in the Toyota. Four to five cars swerved of the track to avoid the drama, leaving Jarno at the back of the field. The Ferrari’s wasted no time in pulling away and only Hamilton was in sight in third with Nick Heidfeld in fourth being threatened by Alonso who had managed to pass Kubica in the sister BMW. Alonso got the better of the German BMW driver in the pits and regained 4th. The Ferrari’s continued to pull away and as Hamilton tried to catch them up he got a puncture. He left the pits in fifth behind Heidfeld and Alonso. Heikki Kovalainen managed to catch up to Hamilton’s McLaren but failed to pass him before the end of the race. Felipe comfortably won the race with Kimi behind him completing the Ferrari one-two. Alonso joined them on the podium. Heikki finished 1 second behind Lewis and Rosberg completed the race in 7th, nine seconds behind the Renault. Robert Kubica couldn’t match his teammates performance and finished 8th.

    Information
    • Official Name: 2008 Formula 1 Petrol Ofisi Turkish Grand Prix
    • Date: 9-11 May 2008
    • Round: 5
    • Circuit: Istanbul Park
    • Location: Istanbul
    • First race: 2005
    • Laps: 58
    • Lap Distance: 3.32 Miles (5.34km)
    • Lap Record: 1:24.770, J.Montoya
    • BST Race Start: 1:00

    Preparation and Predictions
    The First Turkish Grand Prix was in 2005 and since then every driver that grabbed pole on the Saturday has gone on to win the race. I say every, Kimi grabbed pole and won the first race and since then the honours have all gone to Felipe Massa, winning his first race in Turkey, he has gone on to dominate the Grand Prix, saying on Thursday that he owns the track. With most of the predictions pointing to another wipe out by Ferrari, can Massa continue his run or will he be beaten by the sister Ferrari, McLaren, BMW or even the Renault, looking back to Spain. Unlike Spain, however, pole certainly doesn’t guarantee a win. The circuit is widely considered as Hermann Tilke’s best and overtaking opportunity’s shouldn’t be rare. It won’t be easy for the pole-sitter to stay leading the pack.

    News
    Rubens Barrichello makes Formula One history this weekend as the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix marks his 257th Grand Prix start surpassing Ricardo Patrese’s record of 256 making him the most experienced Formula One driver ever. He began his F1 Career in 1993 and is the only driver still in the sport to have raced with Ayrton Senna. Out of the current drivers, only David Coulthard is anywhere near his experience level with 30 less Grand Prix starts. In other news Heikki Kovalienen has been declared fit for the Grand Prix after his heavy crash in Spain saying “I am obviously very pleased with the decision by the FIA Medical Team, I arrived here today feeling confident that I would pass the FIA test as I feel 100 percent.” and finally Giancarlo Fisichella will be penalised three grid positions for the race after exiting the pit lane under a red light during Free Practice 1 on Friday.

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    After half a year of uncertainty, Super Aguri have finally announced their withdrawal from the 2008 season. Aguri Suzuki said, after a meeting with the Honda board in Japan, “In order to realize my dream to become an owner of a Formula One Team, I applied for a grid position in the FIA Formula One World Championship in November 2005. Since then, I have participated in the championship for 2 years and 4 months with the Super Aguri F1 team, but regretfully I must inform you that the team will be ceasing its racing activities as of today.” The team, which was originally set up by Honda to give Takuma Sato a drive, has struggled from the start by only just making the final cut into their first season in 2006. The team managed to overcome their original financial struggles and by 2007 secured a permanent second driver, Anthony Davidson, and things stated to look up for the Japanese squad with an improvement in their results. The 2007 Canadian Grand Prix was their strongest outing with Takuma finishing in 6th with his British team-mate heading for a 5th place before colliding with a groundhog. At the end of the championship they managed a 9th place constructors position beating the short-lived Spyker team and only just behind a severely under performing Honda (and helped by the exclusion of McLaren). Whilst preparing for their next season, however, their major 2007 sponsor, SS United, breached their contract and failed to payout any of the agreed deal plunging the team into the financial struggles seen at the beginning of the season. But what does this mean for the sport? With the races back down to only 20 drivers and teams with small budgets finding it harder and harder to start up a team with less people interested every month, it seems the FIA have to be more extreme with their cost-cutting plans. All hope for the two drivers may not be over however, with the team going into administration we might yet see a return by some of the core of the Japanese squad in 2009.

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    Nick’s had enough

    The future of Super Aguri is looking grimmer by the minute. Over the past week the Japanese squad has been in talks with the Weigl Group and everything seemed to be going to plan. All that was needed was the approval of Honda. Unfortunately that’s when things stated to go wrong. Nick Fry didn’t seem to approve of the deal saying “It would appear unlikely that a company the size of Weigl is able to support a competitive Formula One team, unless of course there are other partners of which we have not been made aware.” Super Aguri, however, seemed optimistic that Honda would approve the German company’s deal and sent their trucks and motorhome to Istanbul. When they arrived they had quite a surprise. The team was denied access to the paddock and were left waiting outside the track for further information. The reason for the refusal of entry was Formula One Management had been informed that Super Aguri would not be racing. The FOM had been informed by Honda CEO, Nick Fry who made it clear that his team could not longer support Super Aguri saying “We tried to help as much as possible and Honda never intended to fund two F1 teams. We’ve gone way beyond what was ever originally anticipated.” Clearly this is the end of Honda’s involvement in Aguri Suzuka’s team and it looks increasingly lightly that nobody is interested in buying the team. Aguri will be meeting the Honda board tomorrow where it looks likely the team will announce their withdrawal from the sport.

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