Red Bull buys Berger’s stake in Toro Rosso, what does it mean ?

Dietrich Mateschitz and Gergard Berger

Dietrich Mateschitz and Gergard Berger

Interesting and quite surprising news came out of the Red Bull camp. The energy drinks company bought back the 50% stake in Scuderia Toro Rosso from Gerhard Berger taking full control over the former Mindardi team.

Dietrich Mateschitz:

“I am very grateful to Gerhard for his huge input. Together we turned Toro Rosso into a team that qualified on a regular basis in the top 10 and collected world championship points.”


Gerhard Berger:

“A 100% financing of a joint project by one partner can only make sense, to my mind, at an initial stage. This stage is over now. That’s why Red Bull will take over the shares again.”

I think the statement from Gerhard Berger reveals the main reason behind this development – without any serious sponsors on board and probably nowehere in the vicinity the funding has to come from the shareholders. Berger simply can’t afford or does not want to fund the Toro Rosso operation from his own pocket.

It is however still interesting turn of events. Not that long ago there were reports that Mateschitz put his share in the team up for sale. After closing the loopholes in the regulations all the teams are to build their own chassis from season 2010 and this was something else than Mateschitz originally planned for his dual Red Bull/Toro Rosso operation. Mateschitz however later downplayed the “for sale” reports as taken out of context or misunderstood or whatever … And now he bought Berger’s shares back and fully owns two Formula 1 teams.

What does all this mean for the immediate and long term future of the team ? We will see. In the immediate future it looks like this has secured Sebastien Buemi his Toro Rosso race seat. And if Mateschitz plans to make the most of his second team as a marketing vehicle for Red Bull then Sato’s chances might have gone up as well. At the end Japan is one of the markets where Red Bull still has some job to do

But can Mateschitz support two Formula 1 teams in a long term ?

Although as gandprix.com reports Red Bull can afford about 1 billion dollars a year on marketing I do not think that Mateschitz is ready to spend big chunk of that money on F1 only. One way how to limit the spending is to continue using same chassis for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso. For that to happen the teams would have to agree to overturn the every team own chassis rule from 2010. They may be more inclined to that now as nobody wants to see the grid reduced to 9 teams only but some teams, like Williams, may want something in return for that …

Toro Rosso livery, where is the space for sponsors ?

Toro Rosso livery, where is the space for sponsors ?

I also wonder if he will keep both liveries looking like moving Red Bull billboards or will he sacrifice some of the real estate for some serious sponsors. If he plans to sell some space on Toro Rosso cars, he would have to get rid of that huge splash of red paint they say is a bull …

6 Comments Post a Comment
  1. DankNo Gravatar says:

    In my opinion I think Berger sold his share after being faced with the possibility of having to dip into his own personal wealth to fund the Toro Rosso team going into 2009 and especially in 2010 onwards with the team having to become an independent team in it’s own right and with sponsorship very low on the ground.

    Bourdais himself let on that finances were tight just last week when he suggested that they would select their drivers based on who had the best chance of luring in sponsorship, rather than talent.

    So I believe that Toro Rosso will have both Buemi and Sato driving for them next season (Sato to help Red Bull’s marketing in Japan), remain as a Red Bull ‘B-Team’ with Dietrich Mateschitz’s long-term goal to sell off the team, which should be easier now he controls it 100%

    Danks last blog post..Red Bull now owns Toro Rosso

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      Buemi and Sato it may be, we may see soon

      But I do not really see how will this make it thta much easier to sell the team … The team must have value for buyers, but Toro Rosso now has no sponsors and no car of their own …

  2. [...] to the teams. Big changes in Toro Rosso. Gerhard Berger is not only no longer a co-owner (see the earlier post), it looks like he is also leaving his post with the team although I haven’t seen that said [...]

  3. [...] last few days have been pretty quiet in F1, the main topic of the past week was Red Bull’s purchase of Gerhard Berger’s share in Toro Rosso and all the implications of this (Gerhard Berger’s departure from the team, the future of [...]

  4. [...] in Toro Rosso was up for sale. It worked out a bit differently and instead of selling his share Mateschitz ended up buying the shares of his partner Gerhard Berger. Berger walked away from the team that in his opinion does not have too bright future lying ahead. [...]

  5. I think Berger got out of Toro at the right time

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