Honda F1 website

FEBRUARY 15, 2006

All Japanese line-up at Super Aguri

Super Aguri F1 has finally announced its drivers and it is no surprise to see the names Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide. Sato is quick but has been rather erratic in his F1 career to date and was finally dropped at the end of last year by BAR-Honda. That decision helped to launch the Super Aguri team. Ide has no Formula 1 experience but has done well in Formula Nippon.

The most interesting point is the decision to go with two Japanese drivers but to retain European engineers. This may be a problem because although Sato speaks very good English the subtle nuances of engineering can be missed. When Suzuki was a driver back in the late 1990s, he often had problems communicating with his engineers.

"The biggest problem?" said his race engineer at the time, Andy Le Fleming. "That's easy. The biggest problem is that I don't speak Japanese and Aguri tends not to say things because it is too difficult to find the words to elaborate on the problems. I need to do an awful lot of prompting and go through almost everything to trigger off some kind of response. There is no way that we can go into the same kind of detail you can with a good English-speaking driver. This has its advantages and disadvantages. It means you can concentrate on the major problems - and there is a lot to be said for that because you do not get lost amid the details - but on the other hand once the car is working well you tend not to progress as far as you might."