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Abu Dhabi money at Toro Rosso makes sale less likely
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Sep 2011   |  1:01 pm GMT  |  10 comments

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.

Toro Rosso is owned by Dietrich Mateschitz, who also owns the Red Bull Racing team. Its purpose has been to train young drivers and to give him two votes rather than one in F1 political matters.

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.”

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I was made aware of this rumour back in July, from the a staff member I know at Toro Rosso, who also said he knew three of the builders of the new factory in the UAE.


Well the team is definitely not moving to Abu Dhabi!!


I meant June, not July


I wonder if the team might be sold to VW-Audi in the future. They are already a minor sponsor of the team and VW has indicated entering F1 in 2018. I wouldnt expect it to be under the VW banner though. They are set to enter the WRC with their Polo WRC, but maybe Audi will wind up the Lemans Project and run under that banner.

Good to see some new sponsors in F1 and helping out these smaller teams.


NOVA Chemicals is not ownned by AABAR. It is a Canadian headquartered, publicly traded company, which is traded on the TSX (Toronto), and NYSE (New York). No individual shareholder appears to own a controlling interest – at least according to SEDAR filings.


Since 6 July 2009 Nova has been owned by the International Petroleum Investment Company. IPIC was formed by the Abu Dhabi government in 1984.


Have Cepsa joined up just to buy a seat for Algusari ?

Like Santander did for Alonso and Repsol continue to do for Pedrosa in MOTOGP….

The Spanish economy is in a very weak state, most of their Banks have failed Stress Tests, unemployment is rocketing, yet still they are somehow signing off large sponsorship deals to buy good drives for their countrymen.

It cannot continue for very long, in MOTOGP at least we are going to see some plugs being pulled, DORNA have been very shortsighted in their management of the series turning the smaller classes into a majority Spanish affair.


It’s not like you could say that Alonso and Pedrosa wouldn’t be competing in good teams if it wasn’t for their sponsors, right?


Alonso and Pedrosa would both be competing in good teams, yes, but, almost certainly not in the Teams they are, with the chances they have.

Santander paid Kimi off so Alonso could drive for Ferrari ASAP and Pedrosa has been sat on the best bike in the best funded team for years, without ever delivering. Yes he has been close, won races, but ultimately he is just not strong enough in the heat of competition. Many riders have had far less opportunity at that level, most only get a year in a poor team to shine, so, yes, it is down to Sponsors to a fair extent.


Apparently not. Team say it has no bearing, but Alguersuari’s Dad is a powerful figure in Spanish motorsport so you never know.

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