Gerhard Berger has given up his 50 per cent shareholding in Scuderia Toro Rosso and will no longer be involved in the team that performed so well in 2008.
It’s the second time since he retired from racing that Berger has left a high-profile Formula 1 management job, and it remains to be seen if the Austrian veteran will ever return in a similar role.
The former BMW Motorsport boss became a co-owner of Scuderia Toro Rosso at the start of the 2005 season, while at the same time Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz took a 50 per cent shareholding in Berger’s trucking business. Berger and his partner (below) did not always agree on what direction to take, especially on drivers, but more importantly he failed to bring in extra sponsorship to top up Red Bull’s massive investment.
By bringing the team back under his full control Mateschitz has made it easier to control key decisions, while also making it easier to sell to a third party, should an opportunity arise.
At the time of writing the team had yet to confirm its driver line-up for 2009 and had been comparing three potential candidates, namely incumbent Sébastien Bourdais, test driver Sébastien Buemi and Takuma Sato. Swiss GP2 racer Buemi is a personal favourite of Mateschitz and seemed likely to get a seat.
Helped by the fact that the team was running its old car rather than a low-downforce interim model, the STR drivers regularly topped the times in end-of-season testing.