Speed demise reveals STR/Red Bull divide

Wed, 25 July 2007, 11:45

Scott Speed’s imminent demise at Toro Rosso has revealed a potential split within the ownership and management of the Faenza based team.

STR is co-owned, sponsored and supported technically by Red Bull, but its managers Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger have clashed fundamentally with their energy drink partners over the current driver lineup.

With Vitantonio Liuzzi also enduring flagging support from Tost and Berger, and Speed almost certain to imminently lose his seat, Red Bull’s driver adviser Helmut Marko has defended the beleaguered pair and also issued slight criticism to their bosses.

“The drivers are not so bad,” said Marko, who developed and then recommended the pair to Toro Rosso.

“It is simply very difficult for them if support from above is missing,” he told Sport Bild.

Berger, who like Marko is also a former grand prix driver, hit back: “Look at the drivers that Dr Marko recommended to us as future champions! And look at who he thought were unsuitable — Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg. That says everything, I think.

“I have never experienced a pair of drivers such as ours.”

With the Raikkonen mention, Berger is referring to late 2000, when Red Bull split with the Sauber team when the team’s boss Peter Sauber insisted that rookie Raikkonen be placed in the car instead of Enrique Bernoldi.

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