MAY 5, 2008
Super Aguri: where do things stand?
The future of the Super Aguri F1 team remains in the balance at the moment with a meeting due to take place tomorrow in Tokyo between Honda personnel and Franz-Josef Weigl, the German industrialist who seems to think he can save the team. The Japanese appear to be far from convinced that Weigl AG is a big enough company to fund an F1 team. Until the meeting on Tuesday Super Aguri is not allowed into the F1 paddock in Istanbul because Honda has already informed Bernie Ecclestone that the team will not be racing. If Honda now accepts the Weigl bid the trucks could enter the paddock, if not there will be no obvious embarrassment for Honda as the trucks are not there to be removed.
In the meantime Honda has other things to worry about. The company is currently dealing with an accusation from the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau that the company failed to report $1.3bn in income in 2004-2005-2006 by moving profits into its Chinese joint ventures. Honda says that its accounting policies were intended to comply with the local laws in Japan and China. It has not been able to reach an agreement with the tax bureau on this issue. According to the accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (known as US GAAP) Honda has allowed for this liability in its financial statements, pending a final decision. This is not unusual in corporate accounting where new ideas are often tried by companies and challenged by the authorities.