Super Aguri and Preston Racing

One of our eagle-eyed readers, Michael Tomkins, has drawn our attention to an interesting point which has just come to light about the new Super Aguri F1 team. The company, Super Aguri F1 Ltd was incorporated on October 31 this year with its address listed as the Leafield Technical Centre. The websites www.superagurif1.com and www.superaguri-f1.com have been registered by the new company, but what is most interesting is that the name listed as the contact person for the new team is Mark Preston.

Preston is a Formula 1 engineer who worked at Arrows before moving on for a couple of years at McLaren. He then decided that he was going to try to raise the money for his own F1 team. Preston now has offices in the new Silverstone Innovation Centre and lists a number of ex-Arrows and TWR staff as being involved in its plans. These include Paul Bowen, a British Aerospace and Marconi engineer who joined Arrows in 1987 as one of Ross Brawn's design team. He worked on the design team of the A10B chassis which in 1988 gave Arrows fourth place in the Constructors' Championship and was project engineer on the Arrows A11 in 1989. After Brawn and his replacement James Robinson moved on Bowen became chief engineer in 1990 and when Tom Walkinshaw took over the team Bowen became chief designer and led the team which produced the Arrows-Yamaha A18 of 1997. Bowen later followed Brawn to Ferrari where he headed mechanical design for a period.

Also mentioned is Dr Rob Neumann, another former Arrows design engineer who has since started his own composites business; plus Kevin Lee, a TWR man dating back to 1979 who was involved in the Silk Cut Jaguar programme at Le Mans in the 1980s. Another ex-TWR man is finance executive Michael Boon.

Preston says that other engineers will join him but are currently working elsewhere.

The important question is not whether or not the staff are working for Super Aguri F1 but whether or not they had a car in the pipeline before the Super Aguri plan came to light. If they did, it is quite possible that Super Aguri could have its own car finished in time for the new F1 season, although manufacturing a car even at this point in the season is going to be a challenge. The design may not be.

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