Super Aguri team withdraws from F1 world championship

Crisis-torn Super Aguri today finally withdrew from the 2008 Formula One world championship.

After hovering on the brink of collapse for a number of weeks, the team owned by former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki, has now been forced out of business due to financial difficulties.

In a statement, Suzuki said: "Regretfully, I must inform you that the team will be ceasing its racing activities as of today."

Non-payment on a major sponsorship deal at the end of last season with oil and gas company, SS United, initially plunged Super Aguri into turmoil.

Approaching the current campaign it appeared as if the team - with drivers Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato - would be unable to take up their place on the grid for the opening race in Australia, only to receive a late reprieve.

Magma Group, in conjunction with considerable backing from Dubai International Capital, were seemingly prepared to save the outfit.

Super Aguri went on to compete in Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain on the back of promised funds from Magma Group and DIC, only for the latter to pull the plug on the deal.

That left Super Aguri desperately searching for another saviour as the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona approached.

A desperate series of negotiations with parent company Honda, who have supported Super Aguri since their arrival in Formula One over two years ago, resulted in support from the Japanese giants.

However, with Honda owed more than £50m (€63.6m) by Super Aguri, it was to be the final occasion in which they would dip into their substantial pockets to bail out the team.

Then on Friday came confirmation of an apparent agreement between Super Aguri and German automotive company, the Weigl Group.

However, within the corridors of power at Honda, it was questioned over the weekend whether the Weigl Group had the financial clout to fully fund Super Aguri to the end of the season and beyond.

That resulted in the team's transporters being refused entry to the F1 paddock in Istanbul ahead of this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix.

The end result is that Super Aguri will now no longer compete in F1, meaning just 10 teams and 20 cars will line up on Sunday.

Suzuki said: "In order to realise 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 two years and four months as 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 has competed against the many car manufacturer backed teams and succeeded in obtaining the first points after only the 22nd race, finishing ninth overall in the 2007 constructors' championship.

"However, the breach of contract by promised partner, SS United Oil & Gas Company, resulted in the loss of financial backing and immediately put the team into financial difficulties.

"Also, the change in direction of the environment surrounding the team, in terms of the use of customer chassis, has affected our ability to find partners.

"Meanwhile, with the help of Honda, we have somehow managed to keep the team going.

"But we find it difficult to establish a way to continue the activities in the future within the environment surrounding F1 and as a result, I have concluded to withdraw from the championship.

"I would like to express my deepest thanks to Honda, Bridgestone, the sponsors, all the people who have given us advice during various situations over the past couple of years and all the team staff who have kept their motivation high and always done their best.

"I would also like to thank Anthony Davidson, who has always pushed to the limit despite the very difficult conditions, Takuma Sato, who has been with us from the very start and has always fought hard and led the team, and lastly our fans from all over the world who have loyally supported the team."

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