Super Aguri knew they were in for a rough time in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix – and so it proved, with Anthony Davidson starting on the back row for the first time since his Spa appearance for Minardi in 2002.
“It’s been a very difficult weekend here in Spa and it came to a head here in qualifying today,” he said.
The team had struggled during the practice sessions and responded with some all-or-nothing changes to their cars’ set-up that ended up making the problems worse.
“We went the wrong way with car balance in qualifying as a last resort, and it was worth a try,” he said. “But it made it to hard to drive and grained the rear tyres quite a lot by the end of the lap, so there was no more that I could give.
“On this performance, we are seriously going to have to consider our race options for tomorrow.”
Sporting director Graham Taylor was able to see the funny side: “We are in the position our opposition has wanted for a long time now. They’ve expected us to be at this level and, sportingly, we have succumbed at their behest.”
But Taylor’s humour contained a sting in the tail: “They shouldn’t be fooled – our fighting spirit is intact.”
Super Aguri – expected by most pundits to be permanently wedded to the back of the field – have been challenging the midfield for much of the season despite a budget squeeze caused by a defaulting sponsor.
However there was good news on that front, with reports that a Japanese businessman had bought a share of the team from founder Aguri Suzuki.
An Austrian newspaper quoted Suzuki as saying: “I am also negotiating with another partner, because it is not necessary that I keep 100 per cent of the team in my name. The danger never existed that we would have to stop this year, but now we have been saved for the future.”