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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Red Bull buys out Berger

Italian Formula One Grand Prix: Race

Yesterday, Dietrich Mateschitz made some interesting comments concerning Toro Rosso's 2009 driver lineup.

Now, it seems the billionaire will have the final say, as Red Bull has bought out co-owner Gerhard Berger's half of the Faenza-based team.

"I'm very grateful to Gerhard for his enormous input," sources report Mateschitz said in an official statement. "Together we have made Toro Rosso a team which, from 2008 onwards, will regularly qualify for the top 10 and collect championship points. Red Bull will now run Toro Rosso alone on this basis."

Berger had owned half the team since 2006, when Mateschitz bought the Minardi squad from Paul Stoddart.

"I am very happy that I can support Didi (Mateschitz) - who has committed himself to Formula One with so much dedication - with the reorganisation of the team and in this process to make use of my knowledge so effectively," Berger said in the statement.

Often viewed as a satellite of Mateschitz's Red Bull outfit, the Ferrari-powered team upstaged the parent squad this year riding the performance of emerging talent Sebastian Vettel, scoring a win at the Italian Grand Prix, and outscoring Red Bull 39-29 in the constructors' race.

The future of the team seemed in question, however, with the rules changing to eliminate customer cars in 2010. Mateschitz said early in 2008 Red Bull was looking to sell its stake.

This would seem to be the exact opposite. Whether buying out Berger is a result of a relaxation of those rules in light of the economic crisis, or a precursor to a sale of the team to another investor, remains to be seen.

STR's money situation had come into question recently, with current driver Sebastien Bourdais saying the team wanted drivers who brought cash. What this turn of event means for the half-dozen names rumored to be in line for a drive is unknown.

The deal is subject to approval. If it is approved, Mateschitz would own two teams on the grid, which would seem to be at odds with the current state of affairs in Formula 1. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And goodbye, Sebas. Too bad, I think he's getting to terms with F1.

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