The Toro Rosso team will continue to race next season in Formula One - but only with the help of Force India.
Agreement secures Toro Rosso's future
The Toro Rosso team will race next season - but only with the help of Force India. It is reported that Toro Rosso have paid a compensation of 450,000 euros (Dh2.6m) to the Indian owner Vijay Mallya and brokered a truce over the customer car quarrel. Toro Rosso are the only F1 team left that buy technical support in, rather than building their own, and Force India have filed a case arguing that they should not be allowed to compete as they did not source their own resources.
The news of a settlement comes as a boost to team principal Franz Tost, even though co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who also owns the Red Bull racing team, is still keen to sell his stake and has a buyer reportedly ready in the Ultimate Motorsport. Ultimate were looking to secure the deal for the 2010 season, but they initially did not rule out next season for an entry into the world of Formula One.
However, there are indications that Tost's assurance was possible only after it bought its peace from the Force India team. A spokesman for Ultimate confirmed things have gone off the boil for them. "Yes, the project never really got off the ground; in the end the timescale was just too short to get everything in place - as we all thought would be the case anyway." Despite the agreement, Force India team principal Colin Kolles insisted their stance on customer cars remain unchanged, and they may still challenge the status of Toro Rosso in the future.
"Our position on customer cars has always been clear," he said. "Teams that do not design and build their own cars should not be eligible to score constructors' championship points." With the teams locked on the customer car clause, the arrangement looks to be a perfect compromise formula for the bottom-placed teams. Force India took over the Spyker team, which was the revised version of the Jordan team and which had the shares of the Super Aguri team pledged to it after the Japanese team pulled out of the sport in May.
Force India has filed a case disputing the presence of Aguri and Red Bull in the constructors' championship though they are customer cars. As to the status of the Super Aguri shares, Kolles told The National: "Super Aguri's future is unclear, since it is currently in administration. Until this matter is clarified we cannot comment." Meanwhile Tost reiterated: "The message we have from Mateschitz is that, for 2009 everything will remain stable. Then, from 2010, we will see."