TORO ROSSO SAFE FOR NOW: Engine-supplier Renault are flirting with the idea of taking over Toro Rosso, Belgian-Dutch driver Max Verstappen is pictured testing in Barcelona. Image: AFP
FAENZA, Italy - Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost has played down the chances of a team takeover by Renault.
Earlier this year, at the height of Red Bull's public spat with the French automaker, it seemed inevitable that Renault was going to either buy and re-brandjunior outfit Toro Rosso, or quit Formula 1.
RELIABILITY MAIN CONCERN
Renault's F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul played down that likelihood. "We're living through a tough moment," he told the F1 website, "but this marriage has all the reason in the world to last.
"So, we have to do a better job on-track, but we also have to do a better job off-track."
At the same time, Red Bull officials have openly declared that, despite their struggles with Renault's power unit in 2015, they have a contract through 2016.
Now, Toro Rosso chief Tost is playing down not only a Renault team takeover but also even a yellow re-branding of the team's car.
TORO ROSSO MUST FORM ALLIANCE
Tost said: "A yellow-white car with big Renault letters! No problem -- they can do this with Toro Rosso, but at the moment Cyril said that their main problem is currently to sort out their reliability problems and not painting a car.
"And before that is sorted out they will not think in the direction of either taking over a team or branding a team. That can change in the next couple of weeks and months."
However, he continues to believe that the next step forward for Toro Rosso would have to be in the form of an alliance with a manufacturer.
"There is no time line on that," Tost said. "When (it happens), Red Bull and Renault decide."