JANUARY 31, 2008
Super Aguri and some names in the frames
There has been a lot of talk in recent days about an Indian bid to buy Super Aguri F1, with the name of Andaleeb Sehgal, the boss of A1 Team India, being mentioned. There has also been much talk about the bid being backed by the steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, who is now a shareholder in Queens Park Rangers soccer team alongside Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Alejandro Agag.
Our sources, however, say that the bid is largely talk and that there are two others that are more likely to happen. One of these involves US billionaire John Menard, who owns the buildings at Leafield in which the team is based and who would certainly have the money if he wanted to get involved. From what we hear, however, Menard is not about to let his passion for racing blur his vision and understands that buying into Super Aguri, with the need to turn it into a constructor within two years, is not going to be an investment that can be justified from a financial point of view - unless Menard uses the team to promote some other other product.
The third bidder is much more serious and had maintained an extremely low profile.
A deal now needs to be struck very quickly if Super Aguri is going to be in a position to guarantee its involvement in 2008.
We have also heard stories that Super Aguri has some more problems with Spyker/Force India. Super Aguri seems to have owed some money to Spyker/Force India (it is not clear why) and although this was due in October, it was not paid. The Force India team thus got a summary judgement before Christmas, the court ordering that the payment be made on December 29. Until the money is paid, therefore, Force India has first claim to an unknown percentage of Super Aguri shares.