Former Formula One driver Aguri Suzuki, the first Japanese to score a podium finish in a world championship round, said Tuesday a new Honda-backed team has applied to join Formula One from next year.
Led by Suzuki, the Super Aguri Formula One team is awaiting approval from the International Automobile Federation after it last week formally notified the sport’s governing body of its plans to race in 2006.
Should IAF give the Japanese team the green light, it would become the 11th team on the starting grid. IAF is expected to make a decision next month.
Suzuki, who finished third in his home grand prix at Suzuka in 1990, has yet to choose a new driver for the team, although he has been in talks with countryman Takuma Sato, who had a disappointing finish to his final season with BAR after retiring with gearbox trouble at last month’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The team’s headquarters will be close to Honda’s head office in Tokyo but their factory will be at Leafield in England, where the company has acquired a Menard Engineering facility, formerly the Arrows F1 factory.
Suzuki avoided commenting on reports that Japan’s Internet business giant Softbank Corp. will be a team sponsor. He said, “If we can attract a lot of sponsors, then we will be able to build a strong team. We are doing our best.”
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