Super Aguri is in for 2006
News came in today that Super Aguri will be the 11th team in Formula 1 this season and the first to join the sport since Toyota in 2002. More importantly it will be the first true privateer team since Stewart joined in 1997 (I'm not counting BAR because although they were not affiliated to an auto company, they were majority owned by a multinational corporation, British American Tobacco - they were also technically not a new enterant having taken over Tyrrell's entry).
Unless you've been out of the F1 loop completely since the end of the Chinese Grand Prix, you'll know that Aguri Suzuki's efforts to start his eponymous F1 team were leaked ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix - some would say to mollify Takuma Sato fans who were angry at his being dropped by BAR/Honda for 2006. Their application however was rejected by the FIA when they failed to lodge to required $48M deposit with the FIA by the deadline for entries in November. Then followed a long running saga were Super Aguri tried to get the consent of all 10 current teams to re-apply for 2006. They eventually did get that rare thing in Formula 1 right now - a unanimous agreement by all the teams and re-applied.
At least to start with Super Aguri will almost be a re-incarnation of Arrows since they are based in the old Arrows factory in Leafield, will be running modified 2002 Arrows cars for the first few races (along with tons of other equipment they bought from wheeler-dealer and former Minardi owner Paul Stoddart), and are reportedly employing many former Arrows staff as well.
I wish them all the best, although I predict they will be hopelessly off the pace until they can get their own BAR-alike car ready. All the same, it'll be great to have 22 cars on the grid this year and we look forward to many 1st corner pile-ups what with the charging Taku starting from the back frequently. :)