Q & A with Red Bull's Dany Bahar

As news of Red Bull's purchase of the Minardi team broke at Spa, Autosport-Atlas interviews Red Bull Racing director and Dietrich Mateschitz's right-hand man, Dany Bahar

Q & A with Red Bull's Dany Bahar

Q: What can you tell us about the decision to buy Minardi?

Dany Bahar: "We have so many talents arising from the Red Bull junior programme that we always face the same problem every year, either buying cockpits or putting them with Red Bull Racing. This year we thought that Red Bull Racing was so good that we could do much better with the Ferrari engines and all the development we are doing.

"So the plans that we had in the beginning to do a junior team, haven't really happened like that. So we have again to face the same problem. We have Tonio, Christian, Scott Speed, Neel Jani. And buying cockpits is simply not our philosophy. It never was. And so we faced these discussions and in the end the negotiations with Minardi were pretty straightforward."

Q: Will you run the team from Minardi's Faenza base?

Bahar: "Yes, we will keep the staff there and everything as it is. We will simply go in like we did with Jaguar and see what needs to be done. We will do it step-by- step, won't interfere with Minardi's business and will take over responsibility as from November 1. We will let Paul (Stoddart) finish the season properly."

Q: Will Paul have any role in the new team?

Bahar: "It's not defined. Basically we have an agreement, as always, between buyer and seller that the seller steps out, but I am sure we would need Paul in some ways and he will be very close to our team. Much more, I can't say."

Q: Max Mosley has been saying that in future the need to be a manufacturer could disappear, so was there a tough business decision to be made about whether it was worth paying a premium for an existing team?

Bahar: "We simply don't believe in building a team from scratch. It doesn't work in the short term and you need five years, as Toyota and Honda have proven. If in future the regulations change and allow us to buy chassis, then even better, but that is for the future."

Q: If that happens do you not effectively lose your investment?

Bahar: "No, I don't think so. I think we could then use much more the synergies between Red Bull Racing and Minardi. Then it really makes sense."

Q: Will Scott Speed and Tonio Liuzzi be the drivers?

Bahar: "Scott was supposed to be the third driver at Red Bull Racing but now with this new opportunity we will have to discuss it again. Scott is one of our drivers with high potential and being an American, he's very important to us. And now we have a cockpit to offer."

Q: Will the team run as Red Bull USA?

Bahar: "No, because the team has nothing to do with the USA. We don't have car manufacturers or anything connected with the USA. Everything that was speculated on that is untrue."

Q: So what will you call it?

Bahar: "We don't know what we will call it yet but it will be positioned as a rookie team for Red Bull junior drivers. All the relevant branding, etc, will be done as a junior team."

Q: So you are looking forward to an exciting new project?

Bahar: "I believe it will be a much more exciting project than Red Bull Racing because it reflects what we always do in every sport, structure a programme and support the athlete through to the highest level. We tried to do that with Red Bull Racing but the performance is already too high and so there is already a gap. I think this will reflect our image in the sport much better."

Q: So will you run a developed version of this year's Minardi?

Bahar: "It's a bit too early to say."

Q: But it's not actually possible to run this year's Red Bulls, is it?

Bahar: "That's right, but I don't think it would be possible anyway because taking over in November, I think, is too short notice."

Q: What is the engine situation?

Bahar: "There is an existing contract for the Cosworth V10 and we're happy with that."

Q: What is your information on the V10/V8 engine equivalence?

Bahar: "We don't know. We've just been told to ask for as many revs as possible!"

Q: What are the chances of the Red Bull Junior team arriving with a V10 at the first race of '06 and having Tonio Liuzzi disappear into the distance?

Bahar: "I'm sure the regulations won't allow us to do this! And if it happened for one race, they would stop it immediately afterwards!! I'm sure they will handle it properly and we didn't buy the team to win, but simply to use it to bring through our young drivers."

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