The controversial Scuderia Toro Rosso car was launched while I was enjoying a rainy Italy this week, and although they are only second last to Super Aguri at unveiling, they are certainly leading the way in the controversy race.
The stage was set in Barcelona yesterday for the offical unveiling, and the car was flanked by the recently re-signed Vitantonio Liuzzi. An announcement regarding the second driver is yet to be made, as team chief Gerhard Berger stated that contractual issues are hindering Scott Speed’s re-signing.
The car sports its now familiar dark blue and red livery, with the bull motif continuing from the teams inaugral season last year. However, the garish paint work isn’t the area of most controversy, as the ongoing argument of customer cars centres around the Red Bull owned Italian team, and Honda owned Super Aguri.
STR are running what appears to be a derivative of the Red Bull Racing chassis, albeit with minor changes in order to accommodate the Ferrari engine unit. Visually, the cars look similar, and the nose of the STR does look like something penned by Red Bull designer Adrian Newey – something which Newey clearly took with him when he left the McLaren stable. However, Gerhard Berger was very keen to point out that he believes the STR2 is legal and has every right to race with the other cars.
Our car is not a ‘customer car’. A customer car is when you go to another team, give them money and they give you a car. This is not the case with us. And before we went down the route of working with Red Bull Technology, we took our own legal advice and checked it with the FIA. I am completely satisfied that our car is in compliance with the rules. Gerhard Berger.
Williams and Spyker have indicated that they are not happy with what they believe to be happening, and have threatened to take Toro Rosso to court should they race this car at the seasons opener in Australia.