Scuderia Alpha Tauri

Toro Rosso
Formula 1 team
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T oro Rosso has to bake small rolls. As a talent factory for the large Red Bull team, the Faenza racing team is equipped with limited financial and material resources. Nevertheless, the small Italian offshoot was able to achieve some respectable successes.

Toro Rosso did not have its premiere season until 2006, but is not a completely new racing team. After 20 mostly unsuccessful years in Minardi garb, the two team bosses Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger turned the shop upside down with the help of compatriot and Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz. Against the protest of numerous Minardi fans, the team was renamed Toro Rosso. As a sort of compensation, the racing team finally became competitive.

Toro Rosso started its first year in 2006 with the Red Bull youngsters Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed. The very quick success did not materialize, however, which was partly due to the uncompetitive V10 Cosworth engine, whose deficit compared to the modern V8s of the other teams grew larger and larger as the season progressed. Nevertheless, Toro Rosso driver Liuzzi reached the first World Championship point for Toro Rosso at the tenth round of the season in the USA. However, it was to remain the only one for a long time.

Sebastian Vettel brings success to Toro Rosso

In the second season, the Toro Rosso team management signed a deal with Ferrari for the delivery of customer engines . But with a total of 13 failures in the first ten races, the hoped-for success initially failed to materialize. The team leadership gradually came under pressure due to technical defects and driving errors by the pilots. In the middle of the season, the decision was made to give a young German up-and-coming driver a chance: A certain Sebastian Vettel replaced Scott Speed, who had fallen out of favor, at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

He was already driving in the fifth race in Japan Heppenheimer up to third place, but crashed into Mark Webber's Red Bull in a safety car phase shortly before the end. Both cars retired. Only one race later, Vettel made up for the faux pas and finished fourth in rainy Shanghai. With team-mate Liuzzi's sixth place, both cars were in the points for the first time.

The big breakthrough for Toro Rosso should follow in 2008. At Vettel's side, Liuzzi was replaced by four-time ChampCar champion Sebastien Bourdais, who scored two points straight away in his first race. The Red Bull sister team had to go through the first five racescompete with last year's car. The B-Team was only allowed to use the new Red Bull developed by Adrian Newey at the Monaco GP.

Success came with the new car. It quickly became clear that the combination of a new car, a powerful Ferrari V8 engine and Sebastian Vettel is a real formula for success. In the second half of the season, the young German regularly scored points; in the team standings, with sixth place, you could even outpace his big brother Red Bull. The team from Faenza celebrated the greatest success at the home race in Monza. After the first pole position for Toro Rosso, Vettel also created a sensation in the race and drove to his first GP victory as the youngest driver of all time.

Berger and Vettel leave Toro Rosso

after After Vettel left for big brother Red Bull, Swiss youngster Sebastien Buemi joined the team. Gerhard Berger also left Toro Rosso and left Franz Tost alone at the command bridge. It was no longer possible to build on the successful 2008 season. Since Sebastien Bourdais did not show any improvement either, he was replaced by the young Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari before the summer break. The step did little. Only eight points and tenth place were not enough for Toro Rosso either.

In 2010 the small team faced an even bigger task. After a change in the regulations, the racing team had to design its new car itself for the first time. With Buemi and Alguersuari, team boss Tost relied on Constance in the driver's seat. The first independently designed racer could not meet expectations again. The best result jumped out of eighth place in Canada, in which Sebastien Buemi even briefly led the field. In the final accounts, Toro Rosso only left the three new teams behind.

In 2011 they tried to make a leap forward with a more radical car design. But in the first half of the season you were usually too slow, in the end the reliability wasn't always right. In the battle for sixth place, they lost out to Force India and Sauber. In the end only eighth place remained - after all, ahead of Williams. After the season, the team management decided to put fresh blood in the cockpit. Alguersuari and Buemi were kicked out, and Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have been able to show what they can since 2012. Neither of the two pilots was able to prevail decisively. With a total of only 26 points, only ninth place remained in the team classification. Because of the ongoing failure, another important head of the racing team had to go in 2012. Technical director Giorgio Ascanelli has been replaced by the former Sauber and Force India man James Key.

Toro Rosso trains Ricciardo and Kvyat for Red Bull

However, there was no big change in 2013 either . Ricciardo and Vergne were drivingon a similar level again, but missed major outliers upwards. Only the two small teams Marussia and Caterham as well as Williams were even worse in the final accounts. Ricciardo was still able to book the season as a success. The Australian was promoted to the Red Bull team as a new Vettel teammate. The Russian youngster Daniil Kvyat was appointed to Toro Rosso as a substitute.

However, the two drivers were unable to start the 2014 season wrongly. Renault's new V6 turbo engine lacked power and reliability. Point placements were the exception for Kvyat and Vergne. At the end of the year Toro Rosso only had 30 points - another 3 less than the year before. For 2015, the driver staff was completely replaced again. Kvyat was promoted from Red Bull after Vettel switched to Red Bull, while teammate Vergne was sorted out after 3 lean years.

Fresh blood should bring about the turnaround in 2015. With the only 17-year-old Max Verstappen, the youngest Formula 1 driver of all time was signed. A rookie was also in the second cockpit with Carlos Sainz Junior. Shortly after the start of the season, it was clear that the drivers' inexperience was not the team management's greatest concern. Renault had still got its reliability issues under control. Above all, Sainz was slowed down time and again by the technology.

Because the car was aerodynamically one of the best in Formula 1, the drivers managed to make it into the top ten again and again. The young Verstappen in particular thrilled the fans with a high basic speed and great overtaking maneuvers. With a little fewer defects, more would have come out in the end than 7th place in the team ranking. Because it wasn't up to the drivers, both contracts were extended.

Changeover from Renault to Ferrari and Honda

The contract with Renault, however, was terminated. In 2016 Toro Rosso competed again with Ferrari power. However, the Italians only supply the old material from the previous season. There was no flower pot to be won with that. With 63 points, the junior team only ended up in seventh place. For 2017, they switched back to Renault and got the latest engines again. However, they weren't particularly reliable. So again only the fifth place jumped out. Then in 2018 they dared a whole new experiment with Honda. Ninth place in the team classification was not the result we had hoped for.

Not only engines were changed frequently, but also drivers. With Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly, five different drivers competed for Toro Rosso in two years. Hartley's yield in the 2018 season was 4 points and Gasly's 29 points. After that, Hartley was sorted out and Gasly was promoted to Red Bull. Ex-Formula 2 driver Alex Albon was signed for 2019 and Kvyat was given another chance.

For a spirit of optimism in the teamBut the drivers were less concerned than Red Bull's decision to use Honda engines as well. So Toro Rosso was able to benefit from the technical development of its big brother.


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