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Red Bull confirm Minardi takeover 10 Sep 2005

Christijan Albers (NDL) Minardi Cosworth PS05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 9 September 2005

Red Bull will have two teams on the 2006 grid after purchasing Minardi in a deal announced at Spa on Saturday. The Austrian energy drink company, who bought the Jaguar team last year, will take over all Minardi company shares at the beginning of November.

Red Bull say they will position their newly-acquired second squad as a ‘rookie team’. It will operate independently of Red Bull Racing and the two will compete against one another on the track.

In a statement, Red Bull detailed three main reasons for the takeover:

1. "Red Bull has more talented drivers than it has available cockpits. This meant there were only two ways of helping up-coming drivers: either place them in other teams or to increase the number of cockpits available to us. After much careful thought, Red Bull decided to go with the second of these options."

2. "Looking at the current state of Formula One we feel that the second team will be able to maintain its current assets while also being able to generate its own income in the future, in order to become almost self-financing."

€. "This acquisition also means that Red Bull now has a second vote in any matters raised regarding the future of Formula One."

At the moment, Red Bull say no decisions have been taken as regards the name of the team, management or drivers. However, there is already widespread speculation in the paddock that American GP2 star Scott Speed, recently signed as a Red Bull test driver, and either Christian Klien or Vitantonio Liuzzi could form their 2006 driver pairing.

The buyout also poses some interesting questions regarding engine and tyre suppliers. Minardi currently run Bridgestone rubber, while Red Bull Racing have just announced they will be staying on Michelins for 2006. Both teams this season are powered by Cosworth engines, but Red Bull Racing will use Ferrari V8s next season.

The Minardi takeover marks another chapter in the team's colourful Formula One history. They made their Grand Prix debut in Brazil in 1985. Current boss Paul Stoddart purchased the team in 2001.

Minardi will retain their current driver, personnel and sponsorship arrangements for the remainder of this season. The team are also expected to keep their Italian base in Faenza as part of the Red Bull deal.