APRIL 29, 2008

Weigl aims for Super Aguri deal

The Weigl Group, a German automotive industry company, is tipped to be bidding to save the Super Aguri F1 team. The bad news is that Weigl has been around for some months and Honda has shown no great interest in getting involved in a deal, as Weigl does not appear to have the kind of money that is needed to bankroll an F1 team.

Weigl, which has sales of $200m a year, goes back to the 1970s when 52-year-old Franz Josef Weigl raced motorcycles. He then began to manufacture parts for the motorcycle industry and then expanded into the automobile business. Weigl components are now used by many car companies, including General Motors, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Volvo and Jaguar.

The firm is based in Pottmes in Bavaria. The company has eight subdivisions at six different locations. It concentrates on metalworking, notably with transmissions and treatments for engine parts. It also owns a foundry and a prototyping subsidiary. It has been involved in F1 since the end of 2005 when a three-year technical partnership was agreed with MF1 Racing (now Force India). The company was to help MF1 with the design and construction of its gearbox.

While one can understand why Weigl would want to be involved in F1, it is not clear how the company would fund such a deal. However, if Honda is willing Weigl could take over the role of trying to save the team, while looking for backing in the months ahead.