Guest Author - Christine Blachford
It was confirmed on Tuesday that co-owner of Toro Rosso Gerhard Berger has sold his shares of the team back to Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz. Berger says he was uncertain about the future of the team and thought they may be going backwards with the 2009 regulations. He is now left without a job in Formula 1, but it's hard to imagine that he will remain outside the sport for too long.
For Mateschitz, this is a surprise decision. It wasn't that long ago that he was considering selling his own share in Toro Rosso, and there are rumours that paddock magazine The Red Bulletin will cease production next year as it's costing too much money. With this in mind, there is speculation that Mateschitz has purchased the other half of the team to make it easier to sell.
If this is the case, it will be a shame for the team, as they were making good progress and producing good drivers like Sebastian Vettel. It may be that the effect of the older team being beaten by the sister team was more embarrassing than we anticipated and Mateschitz wants to offload Toro Rosso in case they do it again.
It's a difficult time to be an independent team in Formula 1, without the backing of a major manufacturer to help you. With the financial struggles that are going on in the global markets, plus the fact that Formula 1 is an incredibly expensive sport to be involved with anyway, it's no wonder we are seeing fewer independents on the grid as each year passes. As Berger says, with the vast changes in regulations for next year, expenses will run even higher, and it's highly likely that the field will spread out once again. It looks as though he believes Toro Rosso will be at the back of that field.
Back when he was contemplating selling the team, Mateschitz said he wasn't in a rush for a buyer for Toro Rosso. He said he could wait until the end of the 2009 season, and make sure it was sold to the correct person. It looks like he either believes he is that correct person, or he can find them better with the whole team rather than half of it.