Not surprisingly there has been renewed talk about the future of Toro Rosso following their maiden F1 win last weekend. There are basically 2 questions:
a) Who will drive for Toro Rosso next year
b) What will happen with the team after 2009 season
Not much has changed with the drivers situation. Although the Sebastien Bourdais has been doing better recently, especially in qualifying, his future is still very uncertain. On one hand the team bosses sound a bit happier about Le Seb’s performances, on the other hand Bourdais himself does not see much point in continuing with the team if he can’t get a car that would suit his driving style. So let’s see. For the time being Toro Rosso are looking at the Sebastien Buemi and Takuma Sato. Both are with the team in Jerez for the final test session of the season. Buemi was behind the wheel yesterday, today (Thursday) will be Sato’s turn. There hasn’t been much said about Bruno Senna recently though …
What is more interesting is what lies ahed of the team itself. I was wondering whether Dietrich Mateschitz would change his mind about selling the team. But what the media say this week is right, he never put the team up for sale in the first place:
“Toro Rosso has not been for sale at any price up till now, and this remains the case. We are not actively looking to sell, and the win on Sunday has not changed anything. The whole story about selling was a result of a misunderstanding. Only one thing is certain: from 2010 a new rule will prohibit synergies between two teams – then we will have to look at our position. We’re waiting now on an exact definition of this new rule. The nice thing about the whole situation is, as brash as this may sound, we want to concentrate on one team, but we don’t necessarily have to. It would be irresponsible to run two self-sufficient teams.”
Interesting. He may say that nothing has changed but thay may not be the case. There does seem to be an agreement in place (although I am not aware of it being official) allowing the customer cars to run until 2009 season. From season 2010 they are to become proper constructors. After demise of Super Aguri the only team concerned today is Toro Rosso. After Belgian GP some rumours appeared suggesting that teams are working on some arrangement that would allow Toro Rosso to continue in its current guise beyond 2009. Vettel’s Monza win may however change the mood. The biggest opponents of the customer cars were Williams and Force India. Williams, the former Formula 1 powerhouse, hasn’t won a race since Montoya’s Brazilina GP win back in 2004. They for sure are not too happy seeing a customer car getting a race win.
Force India (the former race winning Jordan), without a single point must also envy the situation when the former Minardi is collecting points on regular basis and on top of it adds up a race win … The $4 million payout from Red Bull might have stopped Force India’s arbitration but it likely won’t stop Force India’s opposition to the very idea of Toro Rosso running as a customer car. At the end of the day more points for Toro Rosso means more prize money, more prize money for Toro Rosso means less prize for others …