Super Aguri pulls out of Formula One
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Struggling Japanese Super Aguri team announced on Tuesday its withdrawal from the Formula One championship due to sponsorship problems. The decision leaves Formula One with 10 teams for the first time since 2005.
TOKYO - The struggling Super Aguri team withdrew from the Formula One world championship on Tuesday.
The team had been battling to survive since last season when promised major sponsorship failed to emerge and backers Honda made clear they were not prepared to support them long-term.
"Regretfully I must inform you that the team will be ceasing its racing activities as of today," team founder Aguri Suzuki said in a statement ahead of Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix.
A planned takeover by the Magma Group, with Dubai money, collapsed last month and Honda were lukewarm about an 11th hour rescue bid from Germany's Weigl Group.
Suzuki had been due to meet Honda's board in Tokyo on Tuesday to discuss the team's fate.
The decision left Formula One with 10 teams for the first time since 2005.
"The team has competed against the many car manufacturer-backed teams and has succeeded in obtaining the first points after only the 22nd race, finishing in ninth place overall in the 2007 constructors' championship," said Suzuki.
"However the breach of contract by the promised partner, SS United Oil and Gas Company, resulted in the loss of financial backing and immediately put the team into financial difficulties," he added in the statement.
"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."
OUT IN THE COLD
Suzuki thanked Honda and tyre partners Bridgestone.
"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," he said.
"As a result I have concluded to withdraw from the championship."
Super Aguri's trucks had already been denied access to the Istanbul circuit for the fifth round of the championship while their cars remained at the Honda F1 factory in central England.
The decision to withdraw left Japanese driver Takuma Sato and Britain's Anthony Davidson out in the cold.
Sato, a popular figure in Japan around whom the team was built after he was dropped by Honda in 2005, scored all four of their points last season. Neither driver has scored this year.
Super Aguri competed with chassis and engines provided by Honda but a change in the Formula One rules banning the use of so-called 'customer cars' also made them a less attractive takeover target.
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