Scuderia Toro Rosso’s boss Gerhard Berger has admitted that he has doubts over Scott Speed’s commitment to Formula 1, and this is the reason that he has yet to announce who the second driver for the 2007 season will be. Vinantonio Liuzzi has already been confirmed as the first of their drivers, but Toro Rosso said that due to ‘contractual issues’, Speed has yet to be confirmed as the second driver.
Speaking to magazine Autosport, Berger outlined the issues surrounding Speed. “I have to say Scott is still on pole position,” Berger began. “I believe that with his natural talent he can do a reasonable job. But he is not at a talent stage where he doesn’t need to work. He needs also to bring a commitment. If he has this, and he shows this, no problem. I think we will be very happy with the two guys.”
Berger also hinted that Speed was not happy with the post-season analysis which showed up his weaknesses and areas which needed work. “It looks complicated,” Berger said. “But it’s very simple. We had a season with two young drivers and in the first year, obviously there were a lot of mistakes, good things and bad things. After the season, we said ‘OK, let’s first analyse very carefully the season – all the races, tests, everything. And then let’s see together with the drivers and make a plan of how to improve their weaknesses.
“And obvisouly this plan you have to do together with the driver, because you need a great commitment from him – first to understand the problems, and then to be able to sort if out. Tonio did very well – he reacted very contrsuctively and worked on himself. I think we’ll see a different Tonio this year compared with last year. Both drivers are quite OK with natural talent, but obviously that’s not everything in Formula 1 – you need a helluva commitment.
“I think we ask our drivers to put similar commitment into the game as all the mechanics, all the engineers, ourselves, Red Bull on the financial side. For us, it can be just good for next season if we feel this commitment. If this commitment is not there, it’s difficult. We are very confident with Tonio that he has it. With Scott we still have some discussions going on, and before we sort out these points we don’t want to confirm him.”
Berger also denied that he wasn’t happy with the amount of partying the drivers were seen doing. “That’s not true!” he stated. “I read it somewhere but that’s not my view! I like partying – it’s part of the game. I appreciate craziness, human thingsm and we’re Red Bull. But it needs to be in balance with the performance.”