Liuzzi on leaving Red Bull family: 'Political reasons'
Relationship soured between the two

Liuzzi on leaving Red Bull family: 'Political reasons'

21-05-2023 18:07 Last update: 19:16

Vitantonio Liuzzi made his Formula 1 debut at Red Bull Racing in 2005 and eventually drove 80 Grands Prix at the highest level. The now 41-year-old former driver was predicted a great future, but because of politics within Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso, it did not materialise. Liuzzi talks about it in conversation with the official website of the king class of motorsport.

Liuzzi's F1 debut

In 2005, Dietrich Mateschitz gave the Italian the chance to join Red Bull Racing, after winning the International Formula 3000 championship the previous year at Arden [led then by Christian Horner]. However, Liuzzi did have to share the seat with former Jaguar driver Christien Klien. Both men would drive for four weekends each time, then hand over the seat to the other for four weekends.

"But after the first swap, we realised it was not good for him, nor for me," says Lizuzi. "I decided to step out and Didi [Mateschitz] himself, he came to me and said, ‘Don’t worry, we are planning to buy another team, an Italian team, and I would like to make you as a first driver with a fully Italian brand. It will be called Toro Rosso’."

Departure by Berger

Mateschitz promised Liuzzi a permanent seat for the following year and so it happened. Red Bull bought up Minardi and indeed named the team Toro Rosso. However, Liuzzi did not know then that Red Bull would become the main team and Toro Rosso a B-team. In 2006 and 2007, he picked up four points on behalf of Toro Rosso. Insufficient according to the management and so he was replaced by Sebastien Bourdais.

"At that period it was very difficult because Mateschitz had a lot of people around him trying to convince him of a different point of view," said Liuzzi, who noticed he was getting less and less support. "There was [Gerhard] Berger, [Niki] Lauda – not only them, but seven, eight people consulting Mateschitz, so it was not an easy period – there were a lot of politics in the team in 2006, 2007. Actually, I stepped out of Toro Rosso because of Berger. In 2007, for politics, he took me out of Red Bull. If not, I would have stayed there for a really long time. It was done in a bad way… It was really not a fair situation."

Between 2009 and 2011, Liuzzi did still drive Formula 1 for one and a half seasons for Force India and then another year for Hispania Racing. In subsequent years, he competed in Formula E and GT classes. At the end of 2017, he hung up his racing helmet. Currently, Liuzzi is an FIA steward at Formula 1 races.