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On the Grid: Toro Rosso
The sister team of Red Bull Racing
Posted Aug 11, 2011 by Chris White
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Having taken over the Minardi team in 2005, Red Bull Racing decided to add a second team to the grid for the development of their drivers, Scuderia Toro Rosso, or STR as they are commonly known have been competing in the Formula One world championship since the beginning of the 2006 season.
The team debuted in the Bahrain Grand Prix of that year, the opening race, and finished in 15th and 16th places, with Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed at the wheel. It was Liuzzi who scored the team’s first points, taking 8th place at the United States Grand Prix, while they had to wait until 2008 for their first pole position, podium finish and race victory. All of which came in one race, with Sebastian Vettel taking the honours at the Italian Grand Prix.
The team started out using Cosworth engines having bought out Minardi who had a contract with the manufacturer, before making the move to Ferrari in 2007. This deal took over from the contract in place with the Red Bull Racing team, who broke away to use Renault engines.
Having suffered with a number of reliability issues and several driver errors, 2007 turned out to be a poor year for Toro Rosso. These problems culminated in Speed being dropped and replaced by Vettel, who was a development driver at BMW Sauber at the time.
The German subsequently finished fourth and Liuzzi sixth in the Chinese Grand Prix, the team’s best results to that date.
In 2008, Liuzzi was replaced by Sebastian Bourdais, who earned his first points in F1 at the Australian Grand Prix, finishing in seventh place. It wasn’t until Monaco that Vettel scored his first points of the season, finishing fifth as the team began to show real signs of improvement. Vettel secured the first Italian-based-non-Ferrari team victory since Juan Manuel Fangio won for Maserati at the 1957 German Grand Prix, and the pair began running with the big boys consistently for the remainder of the season – earning Vettel a deal with the Red Bull team in 2009.
Sebastian Buemi took up Vettel’s spot for 2009, and Bourdais was dropped in favour of Jaime Alguersuari at the summer break, but the Spaniard only managed three finishes in his eight races. Toro Rosso subsequently finished in tenth place in the drivers’ championship after Buemi scored points in the final two races of the year.
In 2010, the pair finished tenth in the constructors’ championship, without really setting the world alight, Buemi having a best finish of ninth in Canada, while Alguersuari peaked in ninth at Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.
So far in 2011, the team have showed much better consistency, with three retirements between the pair in the eleven races, leaving the team eighth in the constructors’ championship.