Super Aguri F1 Team Merchandise

20 07 2007

I’ve received quite a few questions on where to get Super Aguri F1 (SAF1) team merchandise.

They’re quite hard to get, it seems. I was asking for SAF1 stuff at the Sepang F1 racetrack merchandise booths earlier this year and was met with blank, if pretty, stares from the ladies manning the counters.

 This unabashed fan of Takuma Sato and SAF1 has done quite some bit of rummaging around the jinternets and did find Bosco Moto, perhaps the only place you can see decent Super Aguri merchandise. They certainly have pretty stuff.

The Super Aguri F1 Cap
SAF1 Cap

The obligatory Super Aguri F1 Polo / Pit Shirt
SAF1 Polo Shirt

A cool-looking, if a bit impractical, Super Aguri F1 Backpack

SAF1 Backpack 

Or… The All-You-Can-Eat Super Aguri F1 Team merchandise set (approx. JPY73,500/USD600), complete with several shirts, backpack, caps, trolleybag, neckstraps, beltbag, stickers and a brolly (umbrella to us US-English folks, for those rainy British GPs)!

SAF1 Merchandise Set

That said, I haven’t tried ordering anything from them as I really don’t have the extra cash for an SAF1 shirt. Plus the fact that there’s no option to order online. Anyone from Japan want to send a pit/polo shirt over? I think my size is Medium.

I’ve also seen them being sold on Ebay.

BTW, you might see “Samantha Kingz” plastered all over the merchandise, and even on the Super Aguri F1 SA007 racecar. That’s because Samantha Kingz is the men’s line of leading Japanese fashion house called Samantha Thavasa. Why they would be pouring a lot of money (judging by the size of their sponsorship logos on the cars and merchandise) into F1 is something beyond me. Hugo Boss does the same with McLaren, but they’re not as prominently displayed.

All-in-all, cool SAF1 stuff from Japan, but always be careful about ordering anything over the internet!


Formula One British GP 2007 (and other F1 snippets)

20 07 2007

Okay, so I’m a bit late to this party (almost two weeks).

It was a good race, and finally everyone gets to see that Super Rookie Hamilton can (and will) make mistakes every now and then, like trying to pull off a quick pitstop getaway while the lollipop is still in front of him. Christijan Albers jumped the gun in the same way and took half of his refuelling rig along with him to retirement, and he’s since lost his job; well he lost his Spyker seat because of an alleged misunderstanding with one of his personal sponsors, but making your car look like it’s got some giant mutant bloodsucking worm on it in the French GP surely added salt to the wounds. Plus he’s been consistently outqualified by his Spyker team mate, Adrian Sutil.

Lewis miraculously pulled up a fast qualifying lap to bag final P1, even if he was slower during the Practice sessions and first two rounds of qualifying. He just didn’t have the pace during the race. Still he was in third place and his podium place streak continues.

And oh yeah, he’s got the flu. Must be a slow day in the F1 newsroom.

The British GP was overshadowed by Stepneygate, the scandal that rocked F1, but there were no signs that the drivers or the teams have been affected much at that race. Of course, a lot has happened in two weeks, with notable things being that Honda is involved in the F1 industrial espionage case, and that the sport’s governing body FIA has summoned McLaren for investigation.

In other news, Super Aguri didn’t do so well on this one.

On to other stuff… like the absence of the USGP next year. Seems like Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone couldn’t agree to the terms to keep the USGP in the 2008 race calendar. I think it’s purely monetary (i.e. Bernie wants more of it).

Too bad.

But for those of us who also like two-wheeled racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will instead host a second US round of MotoGP, what is considered to be the Formula One of the motorcycle world. A bit of historical trivia here: The first ever race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a motorcycle race, and MotoGP World Championship motorcycles return there 99 years after that race. Preparations are now being done to refit the F1 track at Indy to be suitable for MotoGP racing.

Ironically, if F1 does return to Indy, they may have to use the MotoGP track configuration.

And Lewis Does It Again!

8 07 2007

Amidst the brouhaha over the scandal that threatens to turn this F1 season upside-down, there is still that new-found excitement that we have come to expect every race weekend.

Lewis Hamilton shrugged off doubts over his ability to stake out the pole position in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and pulled off a suspense-filled Q3 session yesterday be the first British driver get pole at his home race in 11-years.

This after everyone was looking at Kimi’s dominating practice times over the weekends, and Alonso’s very strong performance during the earlier Q1 and Q2 qualifying sessions. Alonso even tried to overtake Lewis coming out of the pitlane in Q3, but Hamilton wasn’t having any of it.

In other news, personal favorite Takuma Sato is second to the last on the grid, and his Super Aguri teammate, Anthony Davidson didn’t have a good day either with him running into the gravel and qualifying 19th.

Can’t wait for the 6 hours until the race!

Formula One French GP 2007

3 07 2007

Ferrari’s Back!

Ferrari Flag

Or so it seems that way with a scarlet 1-2 at the Circuit de Nevers at Magny Cours, but we’ve seen signs of that resurgence in the USGP a couple of weeks back. And hey, Kimi’s back too, pulling a Schumi-esqe pitstop that catapulted him over teammate Felipe Massa to the front of the grid. He also overtaked Mclaren’s Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race to gain second place. Bear in mind though that the Mclaren’s weren’t running on top-spec with their engines allegedly on “safety mode”, and that they did try for a more conservative 3-stop strategy. And oh, McLaren Team Principal Ron Dennis is saying something about Ferrari not being good as they looked.

Lewis also pulled off a nail-biting move over Robert Kubica right after his second pitstop. Lewis came out of the pits and found Kubica alongside him with the inside line. They raced wheel to wheel and got really close, but Lewis prevailed in the end. (Hey good to see Kubica back in action after the horrific 180kph crash at the Canadian Grand Prix!).

Fernando Alonso wasn’t too shabby too this time around, dishing out an overtake move on Nick Heidfeld at the tight chicane, showing why he is a World Champion. If he keeps this up, and channels his frustration into properly chasing Hamilton, then we’d have good races for the rest of the season.

Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson got pranged by Liuzzi’s wayward car and they were out early on. Personal favorite Takuma Sato got 16th place from his starting position at the back of the grid (he got a 10-place demotion courtesy of his overtaking of Jenson Button at the USGP while Ralf got away scot-free after he took out two other cars. Not fair!), and this was mostly due to those drivers who dropped out of the race. Not a good Sunday to cap a weekend full of mechanical issues for Super Aguri.

In other news, Jenson Button got the Honda works team’s first ever Championship point. Finally. Their B-Team, Super Aguri, has got 4 points with last year’s Honda car!

This is the last F1 race to be run at this particular track, and to a lot of people the Circuit de Nevers is not something really memorable. That’s not the case for me. This racetrack has forever ingrained itself in my memories as the place where Albers tore out the refuelling rig hose connected to his Spyker (check the link out, there’s a Pic!); why he was in such a rush to get back out on track and not pay attention to the Lollipop Man is still unknown. Comedy Gold.

Go Sato Go!

29 06 2007

Reading the few entries here on my blog, one would get the impression that my favorite Formula One driver is Lewis Hamilton.

 True, I’m a fan of Lewis. I don’t get to watch the European-based feeder series such as F3 or Gp2 a lot, and don’t really pay attention to news bits about them. As such I only saw what Lewis Hamilton did in this season for my favorite championship-potential team, McLaren.

I also used to be a really big fan of Juan Pablo Montoya. Now that was a real firebrand on the track. Indy 500 winner and CART champion before moving to Formula One, he certainly showed what he was capable of when he was in the Williams team, showing Ralf how to race wheel-to-wheel with the latter’s brother, the great Schumi. Unfortunately things went downhill for JPM when he was paired up with Kimi at McLaren (a dream team pairing supposedly), and he left F1 mid-season and joined the American stock car series NASCAR, where he recently won his first event. WTG, JPM!

 That brings me to my favorite driver for the past seveal years. Bear in mind that I am fully aware that his hopes of winning the Formula One Driver’s Championship are quite dim, but still… Takuma Sato is my man.

Known as a crashaholic, Takuma Sato is a firebrand on the track. He’s not afraid to mix it up with everyone else, and is known to make bold overtaking moves. Granted a lot of times that those moves weren’t successful and often took him out of the race (and took others out too; who can forget that time Schumi slapped Sato on the helmet for taking both of them out of the race, haha!), he still is what I consider a real Formula One driver to be – a racer.

Schumi laying the smackdown on Taku:

Off-track, he’s also known to be an immensely likeable guy, if you believe F1 websites (I wouldn’t know as I haven’t met him, but he does seem to be always smiling). Plus he can be counted on to give excellent quotes like “very slippery oily stuffs” after he crashed into the barriers one time in Monaco.

But that’s besides the real reason why I like him. For me, it’s because Sato had an exceptional entry to motorsports: He started karting in 1996, when he was already 19. Most other Formula One drivers started way earlier than that (Schumi and JPM began when they were seven). He impressed Honda so much that they put him in racing school and started him out in real racing.

Sato then moved to Europe to race in the Junior Formula series there in 1998. He was reasonably successful there, and cutting a long story short, ended up in Formula One in 2002 joining the Jordan F1 team with Honda’s backing (the latter wanted a Japanese driver). He got into the points at his home race at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, much to the delight of the Japanese fans.

In 2003, he moved to Honda-backed British American Racing as a test-driver, but replaced Jacques Villeneuve at the last race of the season at Suzuka, finishing in 6th place.

He stayed there for until 2006, where he joined the Honda-powered Super Aguri team after being dropped by BAR. This team has had made an impact on the 2007 season, with Sato having four points and the team currently sitting at 8th in the Constructor’s Championship. Here’s a pic I took of him at the Malaysian Grand Prix this year:

Takuma Sato at Sepang 2007

 I certainly don’t entertain hopes of entering motorsports at my age, but it really gave me that nice warm fuzzy feeling that someone that I’m older only by a couple of weeks could get into Formula One at the ripe old age of 25. Go Sato Go!