Red Bull completes Minardi buyout
|By Tony Dodgins and Jonathan Noble||Saturday, September 10th 2005, 15:10 GMT|
Red Bull has decided to buy the Minardi Formula 1 team, AUTOSPORT can reveal.
Sources close to the energy drinks giant have confirmed that following the signing of an option to look at the team last week, the company's bosses have now given the green light to a full buy-out of its Faenza-based rival.
AUTOSPORT understands that the contract for the sale was signed at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday afternoon, with the takeover of the team set to take place on November 1.
This period of grace will allow Red Bull chiefs to have a proper look at the Minardi operation during the rest of the season before deciding where improvements need to be made.
Although it was previously thought that Red Bull wanted to run versions of this year's RB1 chassis for Minardi, current limitations in the Concorde Agreement that stipulate teams must build their own car have now ruled this possibility out.
It is likely therefore that the team will develop a new car, based on this year's Minardi, for next year.
A source claimed the decision to buy Minardi came about because Red Bull Racing had done so well this season.
"One of the main reasons is that Red Bull Racing have performed above expectations," said the source. "The team was supposed to provide somewhere for junior drivers to learn about Formula 1, but it is better than that now. We needed another team to help make that happen."
It is likely that Red Bull Racing test driver Scott Speed and either Vitantonio Liuzzi or Christian Klien will driver for the junior team in 2006.
Confirmation of the Minardi/Red Bull deal is expected imminently.