JANUARY 17, 2006
Meanwhile in Leafield
There has been a certain amount of speculation about the new Super Aguri F1 team in recent days but according to sources at Leafield everything is on schedule with the team going through the detailed administrative work with the FIA legal department after which an announcement will be made that the team will be the 11th Formula 1 team. It will still be three seasons before Super Aguri gets any money from Formula One Management because of the terms of the Concorde Agreement, which make life very tough for new teams, but the process will at least have begun.
In the meantime, the team is continuing to come together at Leafield with updating work going on with the old Arrows A23s which the team has acquired from Minardi boss Paul Stoddart. These have to be upgraded to pass more stringent crash-tests that did not exist when they were designed but modifications should make this possible, although that is sure to add weight to the cars. The team's own design, which will be called the SA106 is planned to be ready for the San Marino Grand Prix on April 23 but that will only happen if everything runs to plan and there are no glitches.
The team will be runing Takuma Sato and has recently done a seat-fitting for Formula Nippon driver Yuji Ide but there is still no definite word on whether he will be the second driver. Ide would be a solid choice but not an exciting one. Ide will be 31 next week and has been racing cars for 12 years, seven of which were spent in Formula 3 in Japan and then in France. Ide showed no real signs of being a topline player until he got into Formula Nippon in 2003 and has since finished seventh, third and second in the championship. Hvaing said that if he has a sensible budget - and rumours suggest this is the case - and Super Aguri F1 knows this will be a learning year, he probably makes more sense than hiring a youngster with no backing as the reputation of any new boy will suffer when he is driving for a team that is learning the ropes. Whaty will be more interesting if Ide is chosen is to see who ends up with as the team's third driver.
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