Look Backwards – Super Aguri SA05


In 2002, Arrows created a beautiful F1 car called the A23 but tragically there weren´t enough finances to fully realise the A23’s potential. So after some races the A23 disappeared from F1.

But it was not the end of the story for this car as it was put up on auction, and Paul Stoddart, thanks to the money of Bernie Ecclestone, bought the cars. The chassis were used through tests alongside Stoddart’s very own Minardi model, hoping to incorporate some of the ideas from the A23 chassis. The car was put through its paces but not actually used to race and so sat idle for a few years.

Super Aguri entered F1 for the 2006 season but, due to the tight time scale, producing their own car in time for the season would have been impossible. It was expected that a revised BAR 006 chassis could be used, but the FIA said it was illegal, meaning that Super Aguri were without a chassis with just a few months before the start of the season.

Super Aguri SA05 - Pre-Season testing

And here is the time when A23 comes to the story. Stoddart was now out of F1 but still held the rights to the car: it was a long shot, but – with time running out – if Super Aguri could somehow modify the four year old chassis to modern specifications then they might stand a chance at competing in 2006. Super Aguri bought the rights from Stoddart and began tinkering away furiously.

During the Kemble and Barcelona test the public had their first chance to see a pure white car with old aero. There was some concern from the outside and critics on whether the car would be legal on time; with little more then a fortnight before the Grand Prix there was no sign of the 2006 aero. However, a week later in Silverstone Super Aguri revealed, much to the surprise of the spectators and F1 fans, a car which to most looked good. It was a massive evolution from what was seen a week before. From the ashes of the A23 rose the “SA05” car – the first ever car of Super Aguri.

Livery Analysis and Review

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The initial livery for the Super Aguri SA05 was created like the team itself: at a short notice. The design that we saw in the first three races looked like something any beginning livery designer set with a Japanese theme could come up with; a plain white car with a red stripe. The stripe turns into the team’s “Fighting Star” logo at the sidepod; an interesting element that, sadly, makes the sidepod of the car that is otherwise relatively free of sponsor logos look rather cluttered, and actually works to highlight the general lack of sponsorship. Placing the team logo in some other place would have been a good idea.

It is not a livery that earns a place anywhere near the F1 Livery Hall of Fame – if such a place existed – but it is not bad. It is an average livery that does its job. However, as the season progressed, the design evolved and found its place into the hearts of the fans with the rest of this tiny but sympathetic team.

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The evolution of the livery that debuted in San Marino keeps the long red stripe that extends from the nose to the sidepod but everything else is changed. The plain white rear wing endplate has been painted red with a piece of the “Fighting Star” used as a design element – a rather functional solution – and the Honda textmark on the rear wing itself has been turned white for better visibility. Instead of long, continuous stripes and color blocks that are typical to Formula One, the Aguri design uses several smaller design elements – big red swooshes drawing inspiration from the team logo – that work together to create an easily recognizable and exciting livery that stands out from the crowd. They even managed to sneak in the Japanese flag in a way that it acts as a part of the design!

The livery still saw minor changes. The red sun disappeared (sadly) from the barge boards as did the Honda logo from the engine cover, while the logo of a Japanese company replaced the “Born in Japan” logo near the front wheel. While it doesn’t make sense to include logos as a part of a livery review as the teams can’t exactly pick their sponsors based on which one would look the best on their livery, it has to be said that this particular logo looks damn cool where it is.

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In conclusion, it is not easy to create a red-and-white livery that stands out from the crowd, given that it is one of the most overused color combinations in racing. Nonetheless, Super Aguri succeeded admirably in not only managing to avoid getting lost in the mass, but also bringing out a design that is simultaneously aggressive, playful and a bit cheeky. However, perhaps the best word to describe it is the same word that I always associate with Super Aguri itself: fun. In the stressful world of corporate obligations, big money and cabinet politics called Formula One, Super Aguri was a splash of color and a breath of fresh air that was easy for the average fan to relate to. They never had any big success but were always out there to give it their best shot and never lost their smile, even when things got tough. This livery perfectly reflects that positive spirit and happy attitude at the core of the quirky little Formula One team known as Super Aguri.

For the first version of the livery, I award 5 points out of 10.

For the second version, I award 8,5 points out of 10.

TOP3 GPs and stats

3. Australian GP

This race had double importance for Super Aguri. It was the first race, where both cars saw a finished the race (even though Sato finished the race just in pitlane thanks to his problems with right-front wheel) and also it was a race, where the SA05 had lowest gap to the leader in its history – just 2 laps!

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: “It was such a dramatic race today. So many things happened, including with our cars, but I am glad to say that we have accomplished our very first team goal which was to have both cars finish the race. Although it is a small one, it is always a good feeling to accomplish your goal. I am sure that it was a difficult race for the drivers and the team, so I am grateful to all of them for their hard work.”

2. Monaco GP

Franck Montagny didnt have much time to acclimatize in F1, and thanks to that we have here a bit funny story. He was cutting the first corner for first couple of laps:

He explained that it was difficult for him to have points of reference for these first laps in Monaco at the wheel of a Formula 1 and he didn’t notice that he cut the turn, the engineers had not noticed either! He wanted to make a very good sector 1 and it was the FIA who told him that he was cutting the corner.


1. San Marino GP

And here it goes – the sad end of Yuji Ide´s career. It was a first lap of San Marino GP, when Yuji hit car of Christijan Albers and he went flying little bit…

Súvisiaci obrázok

Christijan Albers (DNF): “…with all due respect to the Super Aguri drivers, they are being much too aggressive in trying to jump ahead of us at the start so that they can hold us up during the race, as they’ve done in the past. They are taking too many risks, and we saw today how dangerous this can be. I don’t understand this tactic, because I would have conceded the position to (Ide) had he been in a position to take it. I had a lot of fuel on board and driving to a certain strategy, so I wasn’t trying to hold anyone up. But instead, he just pushed me off the road from behind. It’s too bad, because the car is severely damaged. The team worked very hard to give me a good car this weekend, and they deserved a better result than this.”

After this race, Yuji Ide lost his superlicense, so he couldn´t continue in F1 in Super Aguri. Since European GP, Franck Montagny became the new race driver of Super Aguri, but he was replaced later on too.


Super Aguri SA05 Stats

Drivers: T.Sato, Y.Ide, F.Montagny
Races: 11 – Sato 11, Montagny 7, Ide 4
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
TOP10s: 0
DNFs: 12 – Sato 5, Montagny 4, Ide 3