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Mateschitz puts Toro Rosso up for sale

NEWS STORY
18/03/2008

Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz has told German magazine Motorsport Aktuell that he is putting his Toro Rosso team, formerly Minardi, up for sale, saying that there is no need for him to have two F1 teams.

"It is not a big secret that we've put Toro Rosso on the market," he said. "For the start of 2010, there will be a rule change, and there will be no more synergy regarding design and construction of cars between Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. Therefore, I see the necessity that we continue with one team only.

"We will not sell Toro Rosso during the 2008 season, and will only sell if it is put into safe hands," he added. "But it will be before 2010."

Mateschitz bought the ailing Minardi team in 2005, having previously bought the Jaguar F1 team, which subsequently became Red Bull. With Minardi struggling, there were several consortiums interested in purchasing the Faenza outfit, one of them led by Eddie Irvine. However, with a little persuasion from Bernie Ecclestone, who is rumoured to have been adamant that he didn't want Irvine running an F1 team, Mateschitz made his bid, and subsequently sold a slice of the outfit to Gerhard Berger.

As reported on Pitpass earlier this week, in 2005 Minardi turned a 17 million pre-tax loss into a 150,000 profit in 2006 - its first year under its new owners. Furthermore, the team now has 121 employees, compared to 98 in 2005, with their pay coming to 7.8 million - a 50% increase on the previous year but still a drop in the ocean compared to the big boys of F1.

Speaking in Melbourne, former Minardi boss Paul Stoddart admitted that he is still looking to return to F1 having enjoyed a successful foray into Champ Cars. Stoddart was one of a number of unsuccessful bidders for the coveted 'twelfth team' slot, which eventually went to Prodrive.

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