Toro Rosso chiefs on Thursday denied that Scott Speed had been kicked out because his tenuous relationship disintegrated with the team at the Nurburgring. Californian Speed, 24, is reported to have clashed physically with team principal Franz Tost at the European grand prix, after telling the press on Saturday that both Tost and Gerhard Berger wanted to "get rid" of both him and Tonio Liuzzi.

One set of fans at the circuit on Thursday held up a banner that accused Berger and Tost of being 'a--holes and dumbsh-ts'. But at a press conference to welcome Sebastian Vettel to the number 19 car in Hungary, Tost said of Speed: "The progress of his performance wasn't done in the way we expected.

"It has nothing to do with what happened at the Nurburgring. It was done before (that) because we were simply not happy with his performance."

Berger, who owns the Faenza based outfit alongside Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz, added: "I don't want to spend one more second talking about Scott Speed. That's history.

"He didn't perform and that's why he isn't here anymore."

Berger confirmed that Speed could still test for the team, which ties in with reports that his contract has not actually been terminated.

Liuzzi is also under pressure from multiple Champ Car title winner Sebastien Bourdais to keep his seat in 2008, but Berger said on Thursday that the Italian regular "still has chances to deliver" before Vettel's teammate next year is decided.

"Tonio also has to deliver -- but he still has chances to deliver," the Austrian and former ten time grand prix winner said.

"I really hope for him that he works well with Sebastian.

"Recently, we didn't have a good atmosphere here -- and I'm not saying it's Scott's fault or our fault. It just didn't work out and the only solution was to stop it." (GMM)