Aguri future ‘in Honda’s hands’ – Weigl

Sun, 4 May 2008, 06:10

One week before the start lights shine on the Turkish grand prix gantry, Super Aguri’s future is still hanging in the balance.

Not long after it was officially confirmed on Friday that the German automotive company Weigl was poised to rescue the team, Honda’s F1 CEO Nick Fry cast doubt on Weigl’s ability to make its touted investment work.

The executive board of Honda – Super Aguri’s creditor, sponsor and technical supplier – will meet in Tokyo to rule on the Weigl proposal on Tuesday.

Amid speculation that Weigl’s proposed offer is only for a partial shareholding and initial funds only to cover the 2008 season, it has emerged that the company is also only willing to pay back the team’s nearly $100m in debt to Honda over a three year period.

Magma Group, the prospective Aguri saviour whose Dubai backing recently fell through, was apparently willing to pay back the debt to Honda in one hit.

Weigl CEO Franz Josef Weigl, however, insists that his Bavaria-based company has the ability to prop up Super Aguri into the long term.

“The Weigl group’s offer is backed by strong business finance partners who along with the Weigl group would like to invest long term and not just short term,” he said.

“With our partners, the offer is not only about rescuing the team, but about constructing a future for Super Aguri and Takuma Sato.”

Weigl also claims that F1 chief executive Ecclestone “confirmed to us that he wants the team to survive”, despite emerging reports on Sunday that Super Aguri’s transporters have been prevented from accessing Istanbul’s Otodrom venue just one week ahead of the grand prix there.

Weigl said: “The decision is now in Honda’s hands.”

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