Sebastien Vettel’s win in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza was a fairytale for Toro Rosso, but something of a headache for their competitors. Toro Rosso is a customer team, probably the purest example of the breed. They get a car from Red Bull Technologies, which is essentially the same as the Red Bull, except for the Ferrari engine and its installation equipment.
Their win is not good news for the teams who manufacture their own car, like Williams and there have been some murmurs that the old battles may be opened up again in light of Vettel’s win. It’s one thing to score four or five points here and there, quite another to be winning races and have 27 points on the board! Sponsors ask awkward questions like, “Why can’t we do that?” and conspiracy theorists have a field day, because the team is officially up for sale. If you were an Abu Dhabi squillionaire thinking about buying Toro Rosso, wouldn’t a nice win and a strong position in the constructors table be just the thing to make you take the plunge..?
The problem is that the agreement on customer cars states that the team has to build its own car within three years. Toro Rosso would love to change that agreement, because it’s so much more attractive to a buyer if you don’t have to make your own car. That was also David Richard’s model. But it doesn’t work with the way F1 is and unless you go to an almost spec chassis formula, it never will.
The point here once again is that F1 needs to tell it’s story better – as was also illustrated by the Hamilton penalty saga in Spa. This is another example. Sometimes the people running the show forget what it is about the sport that the man in the street wants to see and believe. Look at it simply – Vettel’s win rejuvenates the sport because it shows it’s possible for an independent team to win. It probably won’t happen again for a few years, if ever.