STR will not turn to pay-drivers – Berger

Fri, 23 May 2008, 07:19

Gerhard Berger on Friday said he will not turn to pay drivers in 2009 to assist his struggling team.

The Toro Rosso co-owner is facing an uncertain future with his Faenza based squad, as fellow 50 per cent shareholder Dietrich Mateschitz is planning to sell up because of the impending end of the ‘customer car’ era.

To make matters worse, STR’s star German youngster Sebastian Vettel is very likely to move to Mateschitz’ premier team, Red Bull Racing, at the end of this season.

“It is not decided yet but it is possible,” Berger admitted to the Austrian news agency APA.

“Of course we would prefer to stay with Vettel and Bourdais, because we are very content with them and it is a problem to always be changing the drivers.

“But we will never have a pay-driver. That’s not what we are about,” Berger said.

Toro Rosso’s real dilemma is that, in 2010 and beyond, only true F1 constructors will be allowed on the grid — and presently the team does not have the resources to turn Faenza into a fully fledged car design and production facility.

And Berger, referring to the team’s back of the grid predecessor, insisted, “None of us want to take on the Minardi role.”

He acknowledged that, without Red Bull or a carmaker behind the project, he might not be in the paddock for much longer, as the current market is barely sustaining small teams.

On Thursday in Monte Carlo, the former grand prix driver denied that any serious talks with investors are taking place, despite rumours of a possible deal with the Italian Fiat-linked carmaker Lancia.

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