The team was founded in 2005 by former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki. The Tokyo-based team was aimed to increase the Japanese presence in F1, both in terms of drivers and teams. Super Aguri was supported by its engine supplier Honda, as was considered as unofficial Honda B-team. At the end of 2005, the newly formed Super Aguri took over the ex-Arrows base at Leafield in Oxfordshire and bought four unmodified Arrows A23’s from Minardi, all of the spare parts, as well as the Arrows Grand Prix International intellectual property rights. The team operated from the former Arrows factory and built their cars based on Arrows A23 designed in 2002 by Mike Coughlan and Sergio Rinland. The SA05 project was overseen by former Arrows engineer Mark Preston, who brought several other ex Arrows employees with him. The SA05 used monocoque, aerodynamic package and rear end engine parts from A23. The chassis was redesigned to incorporate the smaller V8 Honda engine insread the original A23 V10 Cosworth. The completely-Japanese team selected Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide as race drivers for the 2006 season, with Franck Montagny as the third driver. Experienced Sato, who moved after 3 seasons in BAR-Honda was joined by infamous Yuji Ide, the oldest F1 rookie at 31 years. Ide came from Formula Nippon, never raced in Europe and did not speak English. In first three races he retired twice and finished 13th in Australian Grand Prix. At 4th round of the season at Imola Ide caused a first lap crash with Christijan Albers that put the Dutchman into a series of rolls which ended with Albers’s car upside down. As the consequence of this incident, FIA revoked Ide’s Super Licence meaning he could no longer compete in F1 during the 2006 season. Franck Montagny has replaced the Japanese, who returned to Japan to race in F Nippon and Super GT Japanese series. The French driver spent the mid-season as Sato’s teammate, in his turn to be replaced by another Japanese Sakon Yamamoto after the French Grand Prix.
|Franck Montagny||23||Super Aguri F1 Team|