Toro Rosso on the market as owner sees red over development costs

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The Independent Online

The Toro Rosso Formula One team have been put up for sale, their joint owner Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed. Mateschitz, together with his fellow shareholder Gerhard Berger, the former McLaren and Ferrari driver, are believed to be seeking a buyer by the end of next year.

Mateschitz, the entrepreneur behind the Red Bull energy drink, already owns the Red Bull Racing Formula One team and created Toro Rosso in 2006 when Paul Stoddart was finally obliged to sell Minardi. Mateschitz's deal with Berger included each giving the other shares in their respective businesses, Mateschitz's team and Berger's trucking concern.

However, Mateschitz is known to be dissatisfied with Berger's financial contributions, in terms of sponsorship revenues raised, and is believed to be balking at the idea of continuing to operate the team when the use of customer chassis, as opposed to chassis manufactured specifically by each team, is outlawed in 2010. That would mean making further investment, around £25m, to design and build Toro Rosso's own chassis. Currently the team rely on the same chassis as Red Bull Racing.

"It is not a big secret that we have put Toro Rosso on the market," Mateschitz said. "We will not sell Toro Rosso during the 2008 season, but it will be before 2010. We will sell the team only if it is put into safe hands."

One possible buyer is the Prodrive chairman, David Richards, who wanted to enter Formula One this year with a McLaren chassis.

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