Suzuki ready for heavy workload

Aguri Suzuki concedes he has “a huge amount of work” in front of him if he is to launch the first all-new Formula One team since 2002.

Aguri Suzuki concedes he has “a huge amount of work” in front of him if he is to launch the first all-new Formula One team since 2002.

Former grand prix racer Suzuki, who became the first Japanese driver to stand on the podium at Suzuka in 1990, today unveiled details of his Honda-backed team.

The Super Aguri squad will be based in Oxfordshire at the headquarters of the now-defunct Arrows operation.

However, Suzuki admits he has plenty to do if he is to launch the new team as planned early next year, in time for the first race in Bahrain on March 12.

“There is a huge amount of work left,” he said. “We have cleared all the hurdles we had to clear up to this point.

“We have the technical cooperation of Honda behind us so we are confident of achieving our dream of competing in Formula One.”

Suzuki confirmed he submitted an entry to the 2006 world championship to governing body the FIA last month, well before the November 15 deadline, but he does not expect official approval until next month.

Until that arrives, he is unable to announce details of sponsors or drivers.

“We are in talks with several potential sponsors and they are progressing smoothly but I can’t make specific comments until we have received FIA approval,” he added.

Takuma Sato is almost certain to be one of the drivers if Suzuki can get his team on the grid in Bahrain.

The former BAR driver is backed by Honda and was the first to reveal the possibility of an 11th team when he admitted receiving a contract offer at the Brazilian Grand Prix in September.

The identity of his likely team-mate is uncertain, with Englishman Anthony Davidson and Kosuke Matsuura, who drives for Suzuki’s Indy Racing League team, believed to be options.

“It could be two Japanese drivers or one Japanese driver,” said Suzuki. “Right now we have other priorities.”

Despite launching his team at Honda’s Tokyo headquarters, the 45-year-old is adamant his is a stand-alone outfit.

“We are a Japanese team, that is very important,” he said. “But we are not Honda’s B-team by any means.”

Elsewhere today, Suzuki learned a little more about his likely rivals at the bottom of the grid.

Squadra Toro Rosso, the team formerly known as Minardi, announced Franz Tost, a senior figure in BMW’s motorsport operation, as their new team principal. The Austrian will take over on January 1.

Midland, another team expected to struggle at the wrong end of the field in 2006, confirmed Christijan Albers as their first race driver for next season.

The Dutchman, who was left without hope of retaining his Minardi drive after Red Bull’s buy-out, has signed a two-year contract at the Silverstone-based team, who are being rebranded after Midland’s takeover of Jordan.

Albers said: “I am really happy to be taking the next step in my Formula One career with the Midland team.

“I appreciate all I have learned with Minardi this season, and look on this move as a step forward. It is by far the most challenging option for the future.

“I am impressed by the way the team, along with partners Bridgestone and Toyota, are developing the new car.”

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