Toro Rosso denies plan to replace Speed (updated)

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Scuderia Toro Rosso have denied they plan to replace Scott Speed with Sebastian Vettel, following a report on an American website.

Speed criticised the team after the European Grand Prix, claiming Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost were trying to get rid of him. He was only confirmed to be racing for the team in 2007 days before the start of the first race.

It is alleged there was a physical confrontation between Speed and Tost following the Nurburgring race.

Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais, who currently leads the Champ Car World Series, is expected to join the team next year.

Red Bull has access to a large number of young drivers including Robert Doornbos and Neel Jani (also both in Champ Car), Sebastien Buemi (F3 Euroseries/GP2) and Filipe Albuquerque (World Series by Renault). GP2 driver Bruno Senna is another likely target.

Vettel drove for the BMW team at the United States Grand Prix and scored a point on his debut, becoming the youngest driver ever to do so.

Update: Speed has given a very forthright interview describing the incident with Tost, attacking the team over their pit stop, defending his exit from the race at the first corner, and revealing that he hasn’t spoken to the team in two days. Read it here (external)

Photo: GEPA

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Toro Rosso denies plan to replace Speed (updated)”

  1. The story of Tost and Speed will become an F1 classic…

    Tost: “When Speed returned from his incident on Sunday I asked him why he flew off the track. He just smiled at me and asked ‘Why did my pitstop take that long?'”

    That, Mr Speed, brings to mind the words nail, hammer and coffin for your F1 career.

    Good luck finding that drive elsewhere in ’08 – Red Bull are pretty much the only team looking for an American driver.

  2. Speed only got into F1 after the farce of Indy 2005 IMO. If they put an american driver in F1 they’d get the crowds in now the American GP has been dropped looks like speed will be too :P

  3. Robert McKay
    24th July 2007, 16:04

    I like Speed. He comes up with the best lines. F1 needs a bit of that, a bit of brash uncompromising arrogance in the face of the corporate greyness most of the drivers have to be in order to get to drive for their corporate grey teams. Speed is a legend.

    1. Thankfully Vettel turned out to be funnier, AND a legend… :D

  4. Cooperman: Honda and Marco Andretti don’t count, huh?

    Tommy B: Speed won the Red Bull Search for an American driver in 2002 and joined the queue of other young hopefuls awaiting their chance with the Red Bull F1 team. He was 3rd behind Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen in the 2005 GP2 season and progressed from there to F1 with Red Bull’s B team, Toro Rosso. Speed is almost an unknown in the States, all of his racing since 2002 having been in Europe and, if the decision to put him in the STR seat was based upon a hope that he might improve F1’s popularity in America, it was a forlorn hope indeed.

    The fact is that Speed and Liuzzi were the best that Red Bull’s youth programme had uncovered and that’s why Speed got the drive. It is hardly his fault that the team has been so badly managed that neither driver stood any real chance of displaying their talent.

    I have no doubt that Scott will not be offered another drive in F1 when STR dump him but he has already accepted that as inevitable. Who can blame him for being relieved at leaving a team where the car’s failings have been blamed on its drivers and good performances went unacknowledged?

    Bourdais too might come to regret entering F1 with a team in such disarray.

  5. Toro Rosso is one big disfunctional mess… I cant imagine Bourdais going from king of the hill in champ car to the mickey mouse mess at TR. I really hope it doesnt sink his carreer.

  6. I agree, Toro Rosso is a mess….and I sure hope Sabastian Vettel doesn’t end up wasting his talents there.

    1. You have a bull in your profile pic :D

  7. Speed already said in the interview that he’d love to continue his racing relationship with Red Bull, even if it meant moving out of F1. Anything to get away from Tost and Berger, I think.

    He’s a racer. He doesn’t care where he races, as long as he races, he’s happy.

  8. Quote: Tost scowled after the pair skidded out: “Only the good drivers reached the finish line today.”

    Well, there few others who went off at the same time at the same spot, including the star of the season Hamilton, who only could continue because the crane came to help and Button, who won a wet race year ago…

    Tost and Berger have to blame somebody. And it is easier to replace drivers than to replace car …

  9. Not for STR, Milos…it is not like they built this car from scratch anyway *cough* customer car *cough* :P
    I think the attitude of STR management towards their drivers has been ridiculous right from season start, and if this is the support system they are going to offer Vettel, he would do well to steer clear of the offer and look for other opportunities.

  10. milos, does that mean Franz Tost regards Anthony Davidson as a better driver than his current pairing? That says a lot when it’s on record.

    Also, Franz has apparently forgotten that Liuzzi had a suspension failure (according to and would therefore have been in the Turn 1 gravel even if it had been bone-dry. I can’t blame Scott Speed for not wanting to be in that environment any more.

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