Since returning to its factory in Leafield from the North American rounds of the 2006 Formula One World Championship, Super Aguri F1 Team has been in full swing with its preparations for the forth coming French Grand Prix, which marks the...
Since returning to its factory in Leafield from the North American rounds of the 2006 Formula One World Championship, Super Aguri F1 Team has been in full swing with its preparations for the forth coming French Grand Prix, which marks the centenary of 'Grand Prix' racing, and the introduction of its new car, the SA06, due to debut at the Hockenheimring later this month.
With only 135 personnel in the SAF1 Team to date, deadlines for each milestone reached so far have been tough to achieve, but with a relentless hunger to grow and progress, everyone in the team has given 110% in terms of commitment and sheer determination.
Franck Montagny will be racing for the team once again in the role of second driver at the French Grand Prix whilst Sakon Yamamoto will continue in his invaluable role as third driver for the Friday practice sessions. Sakon will then be driving for Super Aguri F1 Team in the position of second race driver from the German Grand Prix for the launch of the SA06.
The French Grand Prix in 1906, staged near Le Mans, was the first automobile race called a 'Grand Prix'. It was won by the Hungarian Ferenc Szisz, in a Renault, after racing for two days and 1,238 kilometres. With the exception of 1955, the French Grand Prix has been staged every year since 1950.
All in all, seven racetracks have been used: the Circuit Nevers was preceded by Clermont-Ferrand (four times), Dijon (five times), Le Castellet (14 times), Le Mans (once), Reims (eleven times) and Rouen (five times). The only country where an even larger number of racetracks (eight) are used for Grand Prix racing is the USA.
The circuit at Magny-Cours has hosted the French Formula One Grand Prix since 1991 and the Bol d'Or (motorcycle race) since 2000. The 4.411 kilometres long track was re-designed in 2003 and is a smooth circuit with many of the corners named after other racing circuits, such as the 'Estoril' corner and the 'Adelaide' hairpin. It is a flat circuit, with negligible change in elevation which does not provide a lot of overtaking opportunities.
"The French Grand Prix will be the last race where we compete with the current car, the SA05. We shall be using our standard aero package so it will be a challenging weekend for us. But even though we were on a low-medium aero package for the North American races we must keep the momentum going in terms of the speed and competitiveness that we achieved there and hope that we have a good race."
"I am very happy to be going to Magny-Cours as other F1 drivers really like this circuit. It has a fast chicane and slow corners, so it has a good balanced mix. Our new car was originally scheduled to be launched here but now it will be the final race for the SA05 and so we shall do our best and try to make a good race until we have the SA06 in Germany."
"I am very happy to be going back to Magny-Cours and to be part of the celebrations of 100 years of Grand Prix racing. The last three Fridays at race weekends with the SAF1 Team have taught me a great deal, but I also hope that I have been able to give important and valuable information back to the team."
"I know the circuit at Magny-Cours from my F3 driving days and so I am looking forward to driving there again. The team is improving everyday and maintains its good motivation, so I see no reason why we should not have a good weekend in France."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal:
"Takuma qualified well and gave us our best starting position at the last Grand Prix, but we had to retire from the race and the result was very unlucky for the team. Our goal remains the same, to have both cars finish the race and hopefully improve on their finishing position."
"The team is still very highly motivated and we are looking forward to finally introducing our new car. Until we do we will continue to struggle, but we will learn a great deal, as we have at every race, from our participation with the SA05 in the French Grand Prix."