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Dietrich Mateschitz, who owns both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso F1 teams, has warned the Faenza based squad that he is looking for improvement after a season in which it struggled to finish ninth in the standings.
The Austrian, whose company's Media House arm takes over promotion of the World Rally Championship next year, and who has admitted that most of his decisions are based on how they will benefit the Red Bull brand, as opposed to passion or fun, bought Minardi from Paul Stoddart in late 2005, entering the F1 championship in 2006 as Toro Rosso.
Originally the team was co-owned with Gerhard Berger however, in late 2008, just months after Sebastian Vettel gave the Faenza squad its first (and sole) victory, Mateschitz took full control again having announced that March that the team was effectively up for sale.
Finishing as high as sixth in the Constructors' Championship (2008), the team has struggled since 2010 when it began building its own cars as opposed to using Red Bull Racing technology.
Known for its revolving door in terms of drivers, who at one stage were hired (and fired) seemingly on a whim, this year, despite the presence of two strong drivers, it struggled to finish ninth, last of the established teams, with only 22 points.
Talking to the FIA's Auto magazine, when asked what might be done about Toro Rosso's 'falling back' this year, the Austrian said: "Toro Rosso is still our rookie team and its goals differ from those of Red Bull Racing. But that's not to say we're happy with the development of the car. Significant improvements need to be found and are being called for."
The recruitment of James Key as Technical Director from Sauber, who replaced Giorgio Ascanelli, appeared to have an immediate impact, while Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have both been retained. However, it remains to be seen if this is enough to take the team forward and, more importantly, satisfy Mateschitz.
For some time there have been questions as to how, or why, anyone would want to fund two teams competing against one another, and even though the Faenza team is now securing its own sponsorship deals, including Spanish petroleum group Cepsa, one only has to remember Mateschitz' own words... his actions are born not of passion or fun but how they impact the Red Bull brand.
Explaining the decision to end its sponsorship of a NASCAR team the Austrian admitted: "We questioned the cost-benefit ration and also whether the target group was right."
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