Following a period of uncertainty after its split with title sponsor Amlin at the end of season one, the Team Aguri ship looks in uncharted territory again after rumours of takeover talks were confirmed ahead of this weekend’s Paris race.
Aguri has raced with three different drivers (set to be four from this weekend) so far this season while retaining the season one powertrain, and sits eighth in the teams’ championship after six rounds. The driver count may yet increase, with star driver Antonio Felix da Costa set to miss forthcoming rounds due to clashes with the DTM series.
There’s been quite a change in team personnel in the past few months, too: founding technical director Peter McCool did not return for season two; the team’s commercial director changed (and his replacement has now departed for Dragon Racing); and the press officer was changed after the first three races.
Now, it’s been revealed that the founder for whom the team is named, Aguri Suzuki, will leave at the end of this season, with Chinese investors looking to buy in. Having been a Japanese entry thus far, the team will probably be registered as British in season three.
“Team Aguri has confirmed that the outfit is subject to a bid from an investment company and has subsequently entered a period of consultation about its future ownership,” a statement from the team read. “Aguri Suzuki played a fundamental role in the formation of the team and we would like to thank him for his continued support. We are now entering a new phase for the team and are in advanced discussions with new investors, but will not be able to comment further at this time. We will make subsequent announcements in due course.”
Where does that leave the team? A secure financial footing may help steady the ship and bolster some impressive performances. The uncertainty over the future as discussions progress in the coming weeks may not help the team hang on to its sublimely fast driver, however, particularly given that this is exactly the time that other teams, including those with a stable investor and sponsorship base, are beginning to look at season three options.