The new sponsors are very much in evidence on the Toro Rosso, with Spanish oil brand Cepsa on the rear wing, joining Falcon Bank and Nova Chemicals, other new sponsors which joined the team earlier this season.
All three are owned by Aabar, the Abu Dhabi investment vehicle which is also a shareholder in Daimler and in the Mercedes F1 team.
Its chairman Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi has been a regular recently at the side of Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost in the paddock and pit lane, promoting speculation that the team was being taken over. However this is not the case, nor is it moving to Yas Marina Circuit. Rather the team is expanding its factory at Faenza, Italy.
Moreover team sources suggest that a sale of the team is now less likely, rather than more likely.
It has been an open secret for some time that the team has been available for sale, but with the influx of money from Abu Dhabi covering more of the costs, the thinking now is that it makes more sense for Mateschitz to hold onto the team.
Today it was also announced that Niki Lauda has become a brand ambassador for Aabar. The three times world champion, like Sir Jackie Stewart, is very visible at Grands Prix. Lauda has a role as pundit for German TV station RTL and gets many requests for a comment from other TV networks. His trademark cap therefore gets great visibility.
“This agreement demonstrates Aabar’s strong commitment to Formula One. We are proud to team up with one of the living legends of the sport, and we have no doubt that Niki Lauda will help to raise Aabar’s visibility worldwide.”