Speed says Toro Rosso want rid of him and Liuzzi

LONDON Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:06pm BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Californian Scott Speed, the only U.S. Formula One driver on the starting grid, says his Toro Rosso team want to get rid of him and Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi for next season.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to read the press and know that (team principal) Franz (Tost) and (co-owner) Gerhard (Berger) are pushing like hell to get rid of me and Tonio," he told the Speed TV Web site (www.speedtv.com).

Speed and Liuzzi both skidded out of Sunday's chaotic European Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring after only a few minutes.

Berger had told a news conference on Friday that Toro Rosso had an option on France's triple ChampCar champion Sebastien Bourdais for 2008 and also mentioned Germany's Sebastian Vettel, the 20-year-old BMW Sauber reserve driver.

The Web site quoted Speed, whose contract for 2007 was confirmed only in late February this year after Berger had questioned the driver's hunger for the job, as saying before the race that he felt he had no support from the team.

"Gerhard and Franz have their own ideas about what they want to do with their future and they say things accordingly," he said. "That's nothing to do with my performance on the track, that's for sure.

"It's clear that from my bosses me and Tonio both have very little support.

"It's been that way for the last two years and it's a lot more now," added the 24-year-old. "At some point I said I don't care. If I'm not in F1 next year, if I'm with a different team, it's okay for me."

Speed has yet to score a point in 28 Formula One starts while Liuzzi has also drawn a blank this season with the Ferrari-powered team.

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