Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz has handed out all of the staff bonuses to his team following their double world championship victory this season, according to German newspaper Bild.
It has been estimated that the majority of the 500 staff in Milton Keynes were given £10,000 for their troubles over the season, while more senior staff earnt themselves a bonus of about £42,000 for their part in the victories.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel earnt himself around £2.6million for winning the world championship, on top of the extra sponsorship money and revenue he will now command following the championship victory. Proctor & Gamble have already signed a new sponsorship deal with the young German.
It is merely a drop in the ocean for owner Mateschitz, himself a millionaire, who is expected to receive about £62million in prize money for the championship wins. He has always maintained however that his wallet is not a bottomless pit when it comes to the budget for the team, they are estimated to have a middle ground budget of between €300million and €500million. Toyota were the top budget spenders in F1, but it is likely that Ferrari have regained the crown of the largest spenders in F1.
Dietrich Mateschitz has been forced to deny that one of his Formula One teams, Scuderia Toro Rosso is up for sale.
It had been reported online earlier this week that the team, based in Faenza, was up for sale at a paltry €30million. The team was formerly known as Minardi until the end of 2005 when Mateschitz took control of the outfit and rebranded it to fit in with his Red Bull portfolio. Designed as a feeder team to the main Red Bull squad, it had been using repaints of the senior teams cars until this year when the rules on customer cars was finally sorted.
The team are most famous for producing the 2010 title challenger Sebastian Vettel who joined at the end of 2007, winning their first and only Grand Prix at Monza in 2008. He was then promoted to the senior Red Bull Racing team.
“There are constant rumors about it, but now we have no plans to sell Toro Rosso,” Mateschitz’s PA told 422race.com.
Despite the denial of sale there are reported to already be a number of people interested in purchasing the team, should Mateschitz decide to sell. These include Carlos Slim, the Mexican entrepreneur who has always been interested in buying in to the F1 dream. Another interested party is Jacques Villeneuve along with the Duragno group who failed to succeed in becoming the 13th team for 2011. Stefan GP have also been linked with purchasing the team now they have severed all links with the former Toyota outfit.
Kimi Raikkonen has backed away from claims he was about to make a shock return to Formula One next season with the Renault team.
Raikkonen, who won the F1 world championship in 2007, left the sport at the end of last season. He now races in World Rally with the Citroen Junior Team in partnership with Red Bull.
Reports from within the Renault team camp suggested that they had made an offer for Kimi to join Robert Kubica at the team for next season replacing Vitaly Petrov. However today Raikkonen suggested he was happy with rallying, for the time being at least.
“I don’t miss Formula 1 and I am enjoying what I am doing now,” Raikkonen told reporters
“I have still not decided what I am doing next year yet. Soon I have to decide, maybe it will be just after Rally Finland.”
Meanwhile Oliver Quesnel of Citroen Motorsport was confident the Finn would sign for another season.
“I’m sure this will happen,” he said. “For myself, he is really involved in rallying and he wants to succeed. I will be pleased if he will stay. he has done one year and he needs to do one more year to make sure.”
Red Bull are said to be very happy with their partnership with Raikkonen, and there is still a possibility he could return to F1 in 2012 but with the high flying Red Bull team in place of Mark Webber. He would theoretically be racing alongside Sebastian Vettel.
Red Bull’s slogan gave me that terrific title you read above, okay perhaps its no better than something you might read in a tabliod newspaper like The Sun but this weekend’s controversy surrounding the Red Bull Racing team once again highlights the problems with in-team politics and the effect it can have on the drivers.
Mark Webber was denied the use of the new Red Bull front wing, after his was given to team mate Sebastian Vettel for qualifying whose new wing had been damaged in Saturday morning practice. The Australian was duly annoyed when Vettel took pole position. It was another item of favouritsm toward the young German from this season, Webber is even using one of Sebastian’s old chassis.
Despite all of this, Webber managed to win the Grand Prix – barging Vettel off the road into turn 1 – but no amount of nice press photos with Christian Horner and Adrian Newey could put the lid on the problems within the team. Mark claimed down the radio on victory “not bad for a second driver”, a clear point towards his status within the team – or at least his percieved status. Red Bull had defended themselves by claiming they were giving the championship leader the advantage, but we will see if that is true in Germany as Webber now leads the standings ahead of Red Bull favourite Vettel.
“Whether the gap between us in qualifying was the difference between the two front wings, I don’t know,” said Webber after last weekend’s British Grand Prix. “But it was a far from ideal situation and it definitely made my win taste even sweeter.”
Christian Horner came out in the Monday newspapers claiming he regretted not speaking with Webber before the decision was made, and he categorically denied that it had anything to do with Helmut Marko or Dietrich Mateschitz the owners of the Red Bull Energy Drink brand.
“There has never been any pressure from Red Bull to favour one driver over the other.” Horner told The Daily Telegraph in England
“I didn’t have a conversation with Helmut or anyone from Red Bull regarding the decision to give Sebastian the wing. It was purely a technical decision, which I discussed with Adrian [Newey].
“My one regret is that I didn’t have time to discuss the issue with Mark personally prior to qualifying as I’m sure that would have given him a more balanced understanding.”
We have seen many instances of team bias and favouritsm over the years, most recently with the arguments between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at McLaren, a row which has never really been cleared up and forced the Spaniard to leave the team and then earlier between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello during their time at Ferrari.
Top teams have trouble keeping their drivers together and motivated, especially when they are fighting for the championship – Barrichello even had trouble with Brawn GP last year with their dominance. However this is the first time we have seen the management of a team really getting involved and openly favouring one driver over another, even during the Schumacher days at Ferrari they did not willingly pass equipment or new parts over Barrichello – definitely not during a race weekend in any case.
The path Red Bull now tread with Webber is a difficult one, but they really have the Australian cornered to an extent. He has signed a new contract, and there aren’t really any race seats with top teams on offer for next season. He could potentially leave the team, who are looking likely to win the world championship, and head to Renault alongside Robert Kubica. That would leave the door wide open for Red Bull sponsored rally driver Kimi Raikkonen to come back to F1. Or Webber can just live with the favouritism toward Vettel and get on in trying to win the World Championship.
Nick Fry, the CEO of Mercedes Benz has seen these problems before, having dealt with the Button/Barrichello problems last year and advises Red Bull to sort the issues out quickly otherwise they have the potential of shooting themselves in the foot.
“I do sympathise on the one hand with them,” said Fry
“But one of the main points is to stop shooting yourself in the foot. Just looking at it from the outside, there seems to be a case of Red Bull causing more problems than they need to.
“They have clearly got the fastest car by quite a margin, and they should be way ahead of the rest of us, and they are not. So they do need to look at themselves and try and work out what they are doing wrong.
“They are beating themselves – which is very satisfying for the rest of us but it should not be what they are up to.”
All I know is, I am glad I am not in Christian Horner’s shoes this week!!
Christian Horner has openly dismissed the rumours circulating that his red Bull Racing team was about to hand the 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen a race contract for the 2011 season.
Raikkonen quit Ferrari at the end of last season so the team could take on Fernando Alonso. After failing to agree terms with McLaren, the former champion Raikkonen went off to race in the World Rally Championship for the Citroen Junior Team. At the time there was speculation he had a return to F1 contract signed with Red Bull, following the drink manufacturer becoming the Finn’s title sponsor with Citroen.
When asked about Kimi returning was a possibility Horner said ”No. Kimi has committed himself to rallying, and he seems to be enjoying that environment.
“We have been happy with the job that Mark is doing, so why would you change?”
Mark Webber now looks set to recieve a big contract to stay with the team for another year, as the 2011 silly season’s big movers are set to stay in their current environments. Felipe Massa is set to be offered another contract by Ferrari and Robert Kubica will commit himself to another season with Renault.
“When we sit down and talk about it, it will be very straightforward,” said Horner. “Mark is an important member of the team, he enjoys driving for the team and we have a great balance between our two drivers. So, it is the usual thing – if it is not broken, don’t fix it.
“I think that it is clear where our intent is, it is clear where his intent is. It is just a matter of sorting out the paperwork with his management, but in the coming weeks I am sure that will be sorted.”
Force India and Red Bull Racing have confirmed that they will be running F-Ducts in the practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend as they evaluate whether the air flow control mechanism is a worthy new technical advancement to their cars.
Vitantonio Liuzzi told reporters that the Force India team were very confident of their system, a system which is operated by the drivers wrist.
“We are really optimistic about it,” Liuzzi said. “You can never know. It might change tomorrow, but the team has done a big work in the wind tunnel for the last two weeks to test it and it seemed to work pretty well.
“Tomorrow we’ll get the confirmation because on track you never know, but we are pretty optimistic that it should be spot on.”
“We made a simple system with the wrist so we don’t have to take the hand off the steering wheel,” he added.
Meanwhile Red Bull Racing’s man of the moment Mark Webber told reporters in the pre-race press conference that Red Bull were to evaluate their own F-Duct system as they try and maintain their recent dominance.
“Yes, we will give the F-duct a go tomorrow,” Webber said during a pre-event press conference in Turkey. “We will give it a chance.”
Ferrari, who were one of the first teams to use the system are going to try a variation on the position of the hole that needs to be covered in order to stall the air during practice.
A deal taking 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen into the World Rally Championship has been confirmed this morning after large speculation the Finn had signed on the dotted line last night.
Raikkonen vacated his race seat at Ferrari at the end of last season to allow Fernando Alonso a shot with the Scuderia for 2010 onwards.
He has joined the Citroen Junior World Rally team, with Red Bull backing alongside Sebastian Ogier.
However rumours that it will lead to an F1 drive with Red Bull Racing for 2011 for Raikkonen have been quashed somewhat in an interview with a Red Bull spokesperson.
“This has no prejudice at all for Kimi’s further F1 career if he intends one” He said
“It does not mean at all that he will replace a current Red Bull F1 driver in our team from 2011.”
Raikkonen admitted he is delighted to reach a life time goal and compete professionally in rallying.
“I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career,” said Raikkonen.
“Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citroen C4. This is a new but very exciting challenge.”
Kimi Raikkonen is said to be on the verge of signing a lucrative deal for a season of racing in the World Rally Championship.
The Finnish driver parted company with Ferrari at the end of the season to make way for Fernando Alonso. Taking a £10million pay out across 2010 for not contuing in F1 for a season, Raikkonen’s sabbatical year seems to be taking him to gravel and sand as opposed to another circuit racing series.
The 2007 champion has tried his hand at rally driving before.
The deal is understood to be backed by Red Bull sponsorship, and would see Raikkonen driving the latest Citroen C4 machinery, which has propelled Sebastian Loeb to another World Championship in the sport last season. The Red Bull backing really does seem to cement the theory that in 2011 Raikkonen will make a shock move to the Red Bull Racing F1 team to partner Sebastian Vettel in place of Mark Webber.
It was published on a website tonight that Raikkonen “is understood to be ready to sign a deal”.
Former WRC champion Petter Solberg told WRC.com this evening; “With the proper practice, planning, and testing I think he will adapt quickly,”
“He’s a very, very good driver, and once he’s learned the basics, like how to work with pace notes, I think he will surprise many people.
“If he’s in a decent World Rally Car next season I think he could finish between third and fifth on some rallies,” Solberg predicted for the Finn’s maiden season. “The fact is, if you can drive, you can drive.
“You have to be on the case and you need some balls,” he added.
Sebastien Buemi has confirmed that the Scuderia Toro Rosso car for the 2009 season will be launched on Monday.
The car, named the STR4 will share a lot of similarities with the Red Bull Racing RB5. The similarity is hardly suprising given two things; firstly the link between the Red Bull team and Toro Rosso and secondly the fact that all of the Toro Rosso’s have been Red Bull’s so far:
- 2006 STR1 was a 2005 Red Bull RB1, indeed it still had the Cosworth V10′s even though everyone else had V8′s
- 2007 STR2 was 2006 RB2, but had a few parts from the 2007 car later in the season.
2008 STR3 was a 2008 Red Bull RB4, park them next to each other and they’re the same.
Indeed the only difference between the RB5 and the STR4 will be the engines, Red Bull run Renault units but Toro Rosso continue their partnership with Ferrari which last season was to their advnatage finishing higher than Red Bull and also scoring a victory with Sebastian Vettel at the Italian Grand Prix.
“It’s like the Red Bull, only in our colours!” Buemi told Swiss newspaper Blick
Takuma Sato has been handed another test with the Scuderia Toro Rosso team.
The popular Japanese driver, who has shown serious speed in the past but conjoined with multiple accidents, has been out of a drive since Super Aguri went bankrupt last season.
Toro Rosso have been looking for an experienced driver to go alongside a young-gun. It is thought that Sato will be fighting it out with Rubens Barrichello, Sebastien Buemi, Bruno Senna and Sebastien Bourdais to get one of 2 seats up for grabs.
Taking on Sato would be useful for the Red Bull Energy Drink brand in Japan where it has struggled to establish a good position.
A statement on Sato’s website said: “We are extremely happy to announce that Takuma will be testing again for Toro Rosso in Barcelona on 17-18 November.
“Toro Rosso have yet to decide on their driver line up for the 2009 season. We would like to thank all the fans, as ever, for their fantastic support for Takuma and look forward to more good news soon.”
Bruno Senna and Sebastian Loeb have been handed F1 tests.
Senna’s is an evaluation for the 2009 season with the Honda team, to take the place of veteran Rubens Barrichello who is not confirmed for the new season. Senna has had much motorsport success through lower ranks, and Honda are confident he can perform at F1 level already.
It has too been widely reported that Honda’s title sponsor for 2009, BR Petrobras, want a young Brazilian to be driving for them.
“I am obviously very excited about being given my first Formula One test and to have that opportunity with Honda is a dream come true.” Senna told presses yesterday,
“Although I am still only in my fourth year of motor racing, I have wanted to test an F1 car for a very long time and I feel that I am ready for that challenge. I have already spent some time at the factory in Brackley and have enjoyed meeting the team and working with the engineers to prepare for this test. Everyone has been very supportive and it is particularly special for me to have the chance to work with Ross Brawn.
“This is a big opportunity so I want to learn as much as I can before I get to Barcelona. I hope to show the team what I can do, so it’s up to me now to do a good job.”
Sebastian Loeb has also got a test with the Red Bull racing team. The frenchman, who won his fifth WRC Title last week is getting the test as part of Red Bull’s on-going sponsorship of the Citroen WRC Team.
It is not the first time he has taken the wheel of an F1 car, after a demonstration with Renault. However, this is his first proper test alongside other drivers. Loeb says however, that F1 is not his future, rallying is.
“I’m absolutely delighted by this present from Red Bull to celebrate my fifth title,” he said. “I already got the chance to test a Formula One car last year, but this time the circumstances will be a little different.
“I’m now going to find myself in the midst of all the regular F1 drivers during an official test. I just hope that I don’t make a fool of myself!
“I’d like to clear up any speculation about me possibly switching to F1 next year, I’m definitely going to be driving a Citroen C4 WRC in the World Rally Championship.”
Dietrich Mateschitz would appear to be backing out of his decision to sell his half share in the Scuderia Toro Rosso team.
In an interview with a popular Austrian newspaper, the businessman reckoned that he may have been too hasty in his decision to sell up. Indeed, if an offer that he couldn’t refuse came he’d sell but otherwise he is looking likely to be onboard for 2009.
He admitted concerns over customer cars and parts for 2009 though.
“It might happen that we leave everything as it is,” he told Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten this weekend. “We haven’t been informed about the new rules yet and it depends on what is written down there – which parts each team must design and produce individually.
“We will see if an interested buyer shows up, but it might happen that we do not want to sell at all any more. Right now, I would say nothing is fixed yet.”
Mateschitz also confirmed that Frenchman and multi ChampCar title winner Sebastien Bourdais is in contention for a seat at the team. “We will check all the possibilities,” he said.
“Bourdais remains one of them, but overall, there are not that many possibilities.”
The possibilities so far we believe are: Sebastien Bourdais, Sebastien Buemi, Takuma Sato, Bruno Senna and Nelson Piquet.
The A1 Ring in Austria is set to be reconstructed after Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz was given the green light by local government of the area to build a new motorsport facility.
The track will be called Spielberg New and is set to be completed by 2010. It will follow the layout of the former A1 Ring track which held races between 1997 and 2003, although the Osterreich Ring held races through the 1970′s and 1980′s.
Mateschitz bought the track in 2005 not long after the purchase of Jaguar F1 team. He wanted to turn the track into a private testing facility for his team, but as testing restricitons were being imposed.
It was hoped the track could host a round of the DTM next year but environmentalists protesting have caused the work problems.
Mateschitz is investing 70 million euros alongside a 10 million grant from the Styrian Government.
Sebastian Vettel has taken his first ever win at Monza this afternoon. The 21 year old from Germany takes the record as the youngest ever grand prix winner (previously Alonso), and also makes Toro Rosso’s first ever win.
The race started under the safety car as conditions were very wet, and the FIA wanted the drivers to have a “taster” of the circuit before they went racing. Sebastien Bourdais luck was out before he started, the Toro Rosso wouldn’t go anywhere, and being under safety car there is no formation lap and he had to be wheeled to the pits to try and get him started.
In the beginning everyone was ambling around, but when the safety car came in it all kicked off. Vettel was tenths of a second faster on every lap than anyone else, he showed great courage and probably luck in the fact he had no spray to deal with!
Further back drivers were trading places, but everyone was paranoid about driving over chicanes after “Chicane gate”. Massa had to give a place back, as did many others.
Lewis Hamilton pushed his way through the field, passing Raikkonen like he was stood still despite having much more fuel than the Finn.
Both he and Raikkonen had previously dispatched Giancarlo Fisichella, but when the Italian tried to defend against David Coulthard he knocked his nosecone. coming down to the parabolica, Fisichella’s nose completely disintegrated and he went straight into the barriers.
Hamilton was going fast still while most of the other drivers were struggling to make overtakes stick. The track was growing drier and drier, and while most made a stop and put Extreme wets on, Hamilton continued and stopped on lap 27, a clear 1 stop strategy. Intellegence was coming frmo the radars that rain was coming so Hamilton put extreme wets on his car, it would prove to be a mistake.
No rain was coming, and the track was getting drier all the time. David Coulthard then Fernando Alonso came in and gambled on the wets. It worked for Alonso who was lapping well faster than everyone else. Felipe Massa changed too at his scheduled stop, as did most of the rest of the field. Robert Kubica’s stop was perfectly timed to take the intermediate tyres, and this paid dividends turning a quite race into a podium finish.
This meant that Hamilton was losing time on the wrong tyres, and his strategy of 1 stop was thrown out of the window as McLaren acknowledged his need to change to inermediates. He did so, but ruined his chances of winning. Webber was catching Hamilton very easily as the Brit wasn’t getting them up to temperature. Webber tried to outbrake Hamilton round the outside into the first chicane, but Hamilton bumped wheels with the Australian forcing him across the grass.
From there, Massa kept Hamilton behind easily, it never really looked like the McLaren would gain enough advantage to pass.
Towards the end there was more incident. Jenson Button crossed the chicane into turn 1 and clean scraped the side of Nelson Piquet, not really sure what was going on but there was carbon fibre all over the place. A lap later Piquet would powerslide his Renault across the grass, just a couple of incidents the driver had there.
Kimi Raikkonen came right through, passing laods of people and getting the fastest lap time, bringing it down 4 times in a row, this will anger many Ferrari fans who will be left feeling “why didn’t he do it sooner?” once again, 3 races in a row without points for the Finn.
Rubens Barrichello pitted late to put extreme wets on, but it was a stupid gamble as no rain ever came. Late stops for Intermediates from Toyota and Williams drivers left them nowhere near any points.
The Santander Italian Grand Prix;
Autodromo D’Monza, Italia;
Weather: Heavy Rain, turning light then damp track.
|1||S. Vettel||Toro Rosso||1.26.47.000|
|3||R. Kubica||BMW Sauber||+20.471|
|5||N. Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+27.748|
|8||M. Webber||Red Bull||+32.048|
|16||D. Coulthard||Red Bull||+1 lap|
|17||R. Barrichello||Honda||+1 lap|
|18||S. Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|19||A. Sutil||Force India||+2 laps|
Fastest Lap: K. Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1.28.047
|G. Fisichella||Force India||12||Crash|
Interview with the race winner:
“It’s Unbelievable,” said Vettel.
“The whole race we had no problems, the car was working really fine. I had a fantastic race, a really good strategy but all that was gone when I crossed the chequered flag, and the lap back to the pits all the podium ceremony was unbelievable.
“For sure this is the best day of my life, these emotions I will never forget, it is so much better than you might think it is.
“I can just say a big big thank you to the guys in the team, they did a fantastic job, who would have thought it at the start of the season, in these conditions we can do a bit more. It is fantastic, I am speechless.”
“Looking back, being first and having no visibility problems was the key,” he added. “I could make a good, solid gap to Heikki straight away and then I was pushing very hard, sometimes I went over the limit and it got hard.
“I think it got more tricky in the middle of the race as there was no standing water any more. People were going left and right to cool down the tyres, it was very, very slippery, in the last stint.
“A perfect weekend, pole position, race win. I don’t know what to say.”
“All the people might be used to hearing the Italian national anthem but for Scuderia Ferrari. It is a special day and for all the team they won’t forget this day as long as I won’t.”
“I have seen every angle of the grid now. It is difficult when you start from the back. Now we can be proud of ourselves. Celebrating our victory is great, putting these words together sounds unbelievable.
“The mentality has changed, the atmosphere is fantastic. When I jumped into the car before the race they said: ‘Now destroy them’.
“I was pushing like hell, they were looking forward, in that sense you could say we had the balls to do it today.
“Compared to BMW or McLaren or Ferrari, we have not that amount of manpower at the factory, we have about 160 people working at Faenza and they can feel very special. I am one of them we are one team and I feel extremely happy.”
David Coulthard has told reporters that even though he is leaving F1 at the end of this season, he has no intention of just hanging up his helmet.
The veteran Scot has decided to bow out of F1 at the end of 2008, after a long and illustrious career.
Unlike rival Michael Schumacher who has all but finished racing, except for a few alias races on motorbikes, he wants to continue in a series maybe 6-12 months from now.
“I have had no conversations with anyone about racing anything next year.
“The only reason I said I haven’t hung up my helmet is because in six months or one year, if there is an opportunity to race something that I think could be interesting, then everybody will say he is coming out of retirement,” Coulthard told reporters.
This news came as popular German magazine, Focus claimed that Coulthard would be following a string of other ex-F1 drivers into the German Touring Car series (DTM) racing a Red Bull sponsored Audi A4, alongside current world champion Matthias Ekstrom likely replacing Martin Tomczyk if Red Bull Audi decide not to run a 3rd car.
Mika Hakkinen, Jean Alesi, Heinz Harald Frentzen, Chrstijan Albers and Ralf Schumacher have all left F1 and entered in the series.
Scuderia Toro Rosso have begun a major recruitment drive, with a target of adding 50 more workers by 2010.
The small Faenza based outfit which was born from Minardi, a former fans favourite, is owned partly by Red Bull and partly by Gerhard Berger.
With Red Bull’s half up for sale, and the possibility that customer cars will be no longer allowed, Toro Rosso who use a variant of Red Bull Racing’s car and have done so since inception in 2006, will have to create their own cars which will take staff and money.
The first major recruitment of note is Fabio Segalini who designed the original GP2 car.
“We are trying to grow, and if we want to improve our performance we have to grow,” Berger is quoted as confirming to GPWeek.
“I would say about 50 people, we definitely want to strengthen ourselves for the future,” he added.
Ultimate Motorsport, the F3 team have claimed today they are close to agreement with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s owner Dietrich Mateschitz and Red Bull about buying his 50% sharehold within the team.
Toro Rosso is for sale if an offer that is right comes along according to Dietrich Mateschitz whose half is actually for sale. Gerhard Berger who owns the other half has declared he will not sell, yet.
Many have expressed interests, but Ultimate Motorsport are in the advanced stages of discussions into buying the sharehold.
The team, which took its first F3 win at Snetterton last weekend, is going to crate an academy where drivers start in Karting, move to F3 and World Series before hitting the big time.
“We are in negotiations so I can’t reveal too much about it until everything is final,” Barry Walsh of Ultimate Motorsport said today.
“We always set out with Formula One as the target. I would only have got involved in the project in the first place if I was confident we could take it all the way to F1, that is the aim.
“If our plans go the right way, I’d like to think we could be on the grid for 2009. The aim is to have the whole structure, with the academy from karting, through Formula Three and the World Series, and Formula One at the top.”
Sebastian Vettel has admitted he is totally unconcerned about the future of Scuderia Toro Rosso, and is concentrating on the races at the moment – not the future.
The Italian based team who are heavily funded by Red Bull are up for sale, after Dietrich Mateschitz decided he wanted out. It is unclear whether the decision was shared with co-owner Gerhard Berger who seems to want to stay with the team.
Tony Teixra of A1GP looks set to become the new owner.
Vettel is unconcerned, and said that he only found out in the press that the team was for sale!
“Very surprised,” Vettel told Formula1.com when asked about the sale of STR.
“As a driver you are usually one of the last people to come across in-house developments. Fact is I read it in the press – like everybody.
“What does it mean for me? I want to race this season as well as possible – there is no reason now to be worried.
“When you saw the people preparing the car for the race (in Malaysia) there was not one who was thinking about what will happen in one or two years – everybody was totally focusing on the moment.”
Vettel is clearly doesn’t care because he could be racing with Ferrari next year!
Scudeira Toro Rosso’s 2008 car, the STR3 will be ready for the Turkish Grand Prix, Toro Rosso’s technical man said in a press conference today.
The new car will replace the STR2B which is the car the team are using for the first few races of the season.
The minor Italian team did not have the resources to get the new car ready for the first event of the season in Melbourne, but they insist that the familiarity wih the car will bring benefits which outweigh potential losses.
“We are planning to take one to the test at Barcelona in the beginning of April, and then to make our debut in Turkey – god pleasing,”Giorgio Ascanelli said in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Commeting on the new season, and testing he added;
“I really think now the level of reliability which the big guns reach guarantees that they finish. I think we have done what we could in respect of reliability, but it is true that we have been progressively faster at each test.
“I think that our maximum was around Barcelona in January. Then we were faster than most people’s new cars. But when you have a team that is 500, 600 or 1000 people strong, from the middle of January to the middle of March, they do so many things that we couldn’t possibly do. I think we are around 14th or 15th position on the grid, and I hope we can do that with honours.”
Red Bull supremo Dietrich MAteschitz, has admitted that Fernando Alonso will almost certainly not race for the team in 2008.
Mateschitz admits this is not because they do not want Alonso, that it is more a case that they have their 4 drivers sorted already and it would be near impossible to have a reshuffle across their 2 teams (Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso).
“If there is speculation in the Italian media that Alonso is about to sign for Red Bull, I can only say – I know nothing about that,” said Mateschitz in an interview with Motorsport Aktuell.
“Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso have four drivers under contract.
“From what I hear, Alonso is speaking to other teams about a one-year only deal. Such a deal is out of question for us. We would prefer to wait a year and prove that we can build a car which is capable of attracting one of the best Grand Prix drivers for 2009.”
Mateschitz did admit that having Alonso for 2009 would be a big, long term opportunity and one he would much like to see.
“Of all teams which Alonso would have to chose, we for sure would be an alternative with big potential,” he said about the future.
“From his point of view, it is logical that he is looking for a contract that leaves him as much flexibility as possible.
“But that leads us into a conflict in interest between driver and team. We are looking for a two-year deal with an option for a third. We are looking for a common period of solid build-up.”