Berger not ruling out return to F1
|By Michele Lostia and Pablo Elizalde||Tuesday, December 2nd 2008, 13:59 GMT|
Gerhard Berger says he is not ruling out a return to Formula One in the future following the sale of his stake in the Toro Rosso team.
The Austrian sold his 50 percent stake to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who now owns all the shares again.
"I can't rule out a return," Berger told Autosprint magazine. "Let's put it this way: if one day the right conditions for a return are on the table, then I could consider the possibility of coming back. Otherwise I can easily go skiing.
"I might have lost something, but I still have enough to pay for my dinner tonight."
It was the third time that Berger left Formula One, first when he retired from driving and then when he left BMW, where he was a motorsport director until 2003.
"But this time it's different," Berger said. "For me, emotionally, it's been very difficult. All my guys were in that team. However, considering the circumstances, I'm convinced I made the right decision."
The former grand prix winner admitted he felt it was the right time to leave because he felt Toro Rosso would not be making any more progress from next year.
"Fact is, with these new regulations, it's not possible to go on with two teams anymore," Berger added.
"The only way to carry on with our project was the synergy. With that lacking, it was clear for me that I couldn't carry on with Red Bull. This year we had already used 100% of the budget at our disposal.
"Besides that, we had improved our performance and finished sixth in the constructors championship. At this point, for me, the next step was challenging Renault and Toyota.
"But to do that I needed more funds and Red Bull wasn't prepared for that anymore. At this point I understood the time to quit had come for me, even though on fully friendly terms."
Berger said a significant budget increase would have been necessary to continue performing as in 2008 next year, due to all the regulation changes to be introduced.
"With the new rules, just to keep on the same level, at least by 30-40%, maybe even 50. From the beginning it was clear that I was in charge of managing the team, with Mateschitz taking care of the financial situation, but the latter was getting difficult."
The Austrian also suggested that Mateschitz's buyout could indicate the billionaire is ready to sell the team.
"Let's keep in mind that having 100% of Toro Rosso can make the sale easier. If the rules don't change, I think that the only thing Red Bull can do is focus on just one team."
Toro Rosso took their first victory at the Italian Grand Prix this year and finished ahead of Red Bull Racing in the standings.