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'Toro Rosso's win was no fluke'
September 18, 2008 13:23 IST
Toro Rosso's stunning Italian Grand Prix victory was no fluke, former Minardi team owner Paul Stoddart said on Wednesday.
"This has been coming for a while, this isn't just a one-off," the Australian aviation entrepreneur, who sold Toro Rosso's cash-strapped Formula One predecessors to Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz in 2005, said.
"Nobody can say that Toro Rosso won that Grand Prix because of the rain or because everybody else fell off.
"BMW-Sauber won a race this year because many of the other runners had fallen off," he added. "Minardi [Toro Rosso] won the race with them all still there."
Stoddart, who watched Sunday's race on television in Britain, was delighted for the Italy-based team that he saved from collapse in 2001 before selling out.
"I'm glad I wasn't there, I'd probably have had a heart attack. But it was so good for them," said the Australian.
"It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people."
Minardi started 340 races without securing a pole position or a victory. Their battle was always to find the funds to keep going.
Germany's [Images] Sebastian Vettel, barely 21, took both a first pole and victory for Toro Rosso in the space of two days on his way to becoming Formula One's youngest winner.
"Am I surprised? Well, they've got the budget now that I never had," said Stoddart.
"Giancarlo [Minardi] was one of the first ones I texted and that was pretty emotional. You know how hard we fought for just points and now with a better budget and a damn good car they can fight for a victory.
"That is something that dreams are made of."
Stoddart warned however that the victory has probably killed off any hope of so-called 'customer cars' being allowed after 2009.
Toro Rosso use the same chassis as sister team Red Bull, with both cars designed by Red Bull Technology under the guidance of title-winning former Williams and McLaren designer Adrian Newey.
Former champions Williams, and fellow independents Force India, design and build their own cars and have been instrumental in ensuring that everyone must do so from 2010.
"I feel for Frank [Williams]," said Stoddart. "There are very few that have given more to the sport and he now finds himself struggling against manufacturers with massive budgets and billionaire teams with his old designer.
"If I were Frank or Force India, I wouldn't be in a hurry to entertain any discussion on customer cars -- which leaves Red Bull and Toro Rosso in a very difficult position."
Mateschitz, who co-owns Toro Rosso with Austrian Gerhard Berger, said in March that he aims to sell Toro Rosso before 2010 because of the customer car issue.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage
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