Super Aguri says will be on Melbourne grid

TOKYO Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:16am GMT

Super Aguri Formula One driver Takuma Sato of Japan drives during the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway in Oyama, central Japan, September 30, 2007. Super Aguri confirmed on Friday their cars will be on the starting grid for the opening grand prix of the Formula One season in Australia on March 16. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Super Aguri Formula One driver Takuma Sato of Japan drives during the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway in Oyama, central Japan, September 30, 2007. Super Aguri confirmed on Friday their cars will be on the starting grid for the opening grand prix of the Formula One season in Australia on March 16.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Super Aguri confirmed on Friday their cars will be on the starting grid for the opening grand prix of the Formula One season in Australia on March 16.

The Japanese team pulled out of this week's final pre-season tests while talks continued with potential investors but insisted a mix-up over car parts was to blame.

"The cancellation was because some parts hadn't arrived in time," Super Aguri's co-owner Fumio Akita told Reuters. "We are usually scrambling to be ready for the start of the season.

"It was very tight last year and this year is following the same pattern. But we will be on the grid for Melbourne. We're not worried at all about missing out."

Super Aguri principal Aguri Suzuki still hopes to attract investors to help boost the performance of a team which has the smallest budget in Formula One.

"Talks are still going on and I'm told there are three potential investors," said Akita. "Obviously, we have to think of the future and what's best for the team."

India's Spice Group were talking to Aguri last month about taking a possible stake in the team, while Akita did not rule out a full buyout of the Formula One tail-enders.

"It might be 100 percent. But obviously any sponsors or investors who leave the infrastructure there and back the team to improve results would be ideal," he said.

"How much any potential stake in the team would be does depend on the conditions the investor has. But even if it's a 100 percent stake you can't sensibly get rid of the team per se.

"If you have no Aguri (Suzuki) you probably lose Honda as engine suppliers. If investors come in and say they can bring in BMW engines that's a different story.

"But even if we give up 100 percent share it doesn't necessarily mean the owner or the team name goes with it."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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