Why Don’t You Call Scott Speed? – Scuderia Toro Rosso has been put up for sale, with joint owner Dietrich Mateschitz wanting a new buyer to be in place by the end of next season. The Italian outfit have been surrounded by speculation for months that Mateschitz and fellow shareholder Gerhard Berger were looking at selling the team – although each time this was denied by those involved. However, with the new Concorde Agreement meaning that customer cars will be outlawed from the start of 2010, Mateschitz has said there is no way he can continue operating his junior team.
And in the wake of a points-scoring performance in last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the Austrian has told the website of Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell that he plans to sell it. “It is not a big secret that we have put Toro Rosso on the market,” he said in the exclusive interview. “For the start of 2010 there will be a rule change and there will be no more synergy regarding design and construction of cars between Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso.”There I see the necessity that we continue with one team only. We will not sell Toro Rosso during the 2008 season, but it will be before 2010.”
Speculation about a plan to sell Toro Rosso emerged in Melbourne last weekend when Russian businessman Roustam Tariko was a notable guest of Berger. Tariko was linked with a bid by Eddie Irvine several years ago to buy an F1 team. Another name who has been linked with a bid to buy Toro Rosso is Tony Teixeira, the A1GP chairman.
Mateschitz has drawn short of saying who he is talking to about the sale, but made it clear that he would only sell a quality buyer. “We will only sell the team if it is put into safe hands,” he said.
Toro Rosso was formed at the start of 2006, after Mateschitz bought the team off Minardi boss Paul Stoddart.
We Will Be Back – Kimi Raikkonen is convinced his Ferrari team will be able to solve the reliability problems that hindered their Australian Grand Prix weekend. The world champion was hit by trouble in qualifying, meaning he had to start from 15th place, and then retired from the race with an engine problem. Raikkonen still managed to score a point for eighth place, but that was the only positive the Italian squad could extract from a disappointing weekend.
And although Raikkonen admits the reliability issues are a concern, he is sure Ferrari will work hard to solve them. “The lack of reliability is a real problem for me now,” the Finn said. “But I know that back in Maranello the team is working hard to solve our problems. I’m not worried at all about the performance and the competitiveness of the car. The first race was like it was, but we know that we have a really good car. We have to be constantly competitive during the weekend, because when you have to start from far behind, you get stuck in the traffic, just the way it happened at Melbourne. We had a good start, but it is difficult to overtake; you need to take some risks, especially when you have slower cars in front of you.”
Raikkonen, who last year won the title by one point, welcomed the result after such a poor weekend, as he reckons that point could be crucial in the end. “There’s really not much to say about the first race weekend of the season: The only positive thing is, that it’s all behind us,” said Raikkonen. “We had problems right from Saturday morning and we could not operate according to our plans. Obviously we are really disappointed. There’s no point in knowing what we could have done on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, because in the end we would not have finished the race. We don’t cry over spilled milk. It doesn’t help anyway and would not change the result. Although, with all the problems we had, we still managed to get one point. So in the end one can always find a positive aspect in this Australian weekend. We’ll see how important that single point will be by the end of the season.”