Scuderia Toro Rosso news
Undoubtedly the story of the day is that Gerhard Berger is to become joint owner of Scuderia Toro Rosso (from hereforth to be known as STR for bevity's sake). The deal is a stock-swap with Red Bull getting 50% of Berger's shipping company and Berger's motorsport company getting 50% of STR. This makes Gerhard Berger the first ex-driver to try his hand at team management since the collapse of Prost in 2001. Of course STR is in a far more stable situation than Prost was - although with a 50/50 deal we wouldn't expect Red Bull to constantly pour money into the team for no reason, they will recieve money from Red Bull for running the two Red Bull drivers and carrying their sponsorship on the car. That will give them a fixed and stable budget to work with - something only manufacturer owned or backed teams usually have.
The other thing that happened today is that the first STR car was revealed. Basically it's the old Red Bull car from last year with some modifications. They will claim it's a new car to satisfy the other teams (under the terms of the Concorde Agreement that governs F1, teams must construct their own car), but it's only different in a few select areas as far as I can see: the sidepods now have a modest undercut and the leading edge of the floor has a different aero treatment where the bargeboards attach). What's really telling is that STR are running a V10 engine with a restrictor plate under the temporary engine rules for 2006. They knew this since the rules were announced early last year so if they were designing a new car from scratch they would have made the air intake smaller to account for the restrictor. If you look at a photo that shows the air intake you can see that it is much bigger than the restrictor. That imposes an aerodynamic drag that could have been avoided. The roll-over structure that incorporates the air intake is almost impossible to change on a car without starting from scratch.
It remains to be seen if any of the other teams will protest the STR car for not being original. The most likely candidate would be Midland. Their sporting director Colin Kolles launched a stinging attack on STR already, stating his belief that the V10 equivalency formula was only put in place for Minardi and since STR is no longer Minardi and can afford to buy regulation V8s, they shouldn't be allowed to compete with the V10. Expect more political drama at the first round like we had last year.