There is more than meets the eye with STR's latest sponsorship announcement...

Ahead of its home Grand Prix at Monza, Toro Rosso has announced the acquisition of another major sponsorship deal, this time – as Richard’s F1 had predicted in June – coming in the form of Spanish oil group Cepsa.

But the smart money is suggesting that the Italian outfit is actually in the throes of being bought out by the United Arab Emirates’ International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) group. Could Toro Rosso become ‘Team UAE’ or ‘Mercedes-Benz Junior’?

IPIC controls the Aabar group, which is itself a majority owner of the Daimler group, parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

Astute followers of Toro Rosso will note that the Faenza squad has acquired several new ‘sponsors’ this year – such as stickers from Falcon Private Bank and Nova Chemicals – all of which are owned by IPIC.

Cepsa is the latest to join the ranks, which would support rumours – which have been active since the Monaco Grand Prix – that Aabar/IPIC had bought a minority stake in the team. Perhaps the stake is getting bigger?

Clearly, IPIC is using the platform of F1 to promote the different companies it owns.

Cepsa is a case in point. Its own company structure changed in August when French petroleum group Total sold its shareholding in the group, with its five board directors replaced by Khadem Al-Qubaisi, who is also the CEO of … Nova Chemicals. Cepsa is now wholly owned by IPIC, which plans to expand Cepsa’s visibility across Europe.

One player who will certainly benefit from this announcement is Jaime Alguersuari, who will no doubt welcome the arrival of a Spanish company’s stickers on the flanks of the STR6 challenger.

[Image via The Cahier Archive]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.