Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

F1 encyclopedia

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Formula 1 team

Scuderia Toro Rosso
Credit: Getty
Team information
F1 debutBahrain Grand Prix, 2006
Season line-up
Race driverDaniil Kvyat
Reserve driverSean Gelael
Race driverPierre Gasly
Race driverBrendon Hartley
Key members of staff
Team principalFranz Tost
Head of vehicle performanceJody Egginton
Team managerGraham Watson
Technical directorJames Key

As part of the Red Bull stable, the Toro Rosso team embarrassed their sister squad by taking the first victory. Sebastian Vettel’s unexpected win in 2008 propelled him to success, but Toro Rosso were left behind. Their job remains to uncover new driver talent likely for promotion, and scrabble in the midfield for points wherever they can.

F1 history

Toro Rosso emerged from the leftovers of the Minardi team – a racing outfit founded by Giancarlo Minardi in the late 1970s. Working their way up through some junior categories, the Italian team entered Formula One just in time for the 1985 season. It was a very difficult start for the Minardi team, with more retirements than finishes for the first few seasons. Despite startlingly few results, the team managed to continue until 2000, when it seemed as though they would be on the way out.

Australian businessman Paul Stoddart bought them at the start of 2001, retaining the name, and unfortunately for him, the run of results as well. In the five years he ran the team, there were just four points finishes – two of which came at the six-car US Grand Prix of 2005.

Eventually, Stoddart announced the team were up for sale, and at the end of 2005, they were bought by the energy drinks company Red Bull. They were renamed Toro Rosso and became Red Bull Racing’s sister outfit. In that position, they initially shared a lot of data, even chassis designs, but gradually a bit of distance has been put between the two teams. Toro Rosso spent time building up their own technology infrastructure, and even managed to have success before the main team – Sebastian Vettel’s 2008 race victory propelled him to stardom with Red Bull, but was actually attained during his time at Toro Rosso.

That’s the main reason Toro Rosso remain, despite wavering support from Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz. He’s occasionally put the outfit up for sale, but retains them with the knowledge that they can test out drivers for the main team. Quadruple champion Vettel made his way up through Toro Rosso, whilst 2014 driver Daniel Ricciardo also spent several years with the team. As a test bed for young talent, Toro Rosso have a reasonably high driver turnover, and that ensures they remain in the midfield, but they continue to creep forward towards success, and to repeating that 2008 win.

For the 2015 season, the team ran another double rookie strategy, introducing Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen to the Formula One lineup, both as potential candidates for a Red Bull driver further down the line. Both drivers fought against each other on track and performed well, earning themselves another season as teammates.

The line up was retained for 2016, but there was a swap in store just four races into the season. Daniil Kvyat was demoted from Red Bull back to Toro Rosso, and Max Verstappen was promoted into the main seat. Although understandably frustrated by the situation, Kvyat kept his head down and readjusted to life in the sister squad. The team enjoyed a handful of top ten finishes throughout the year, but finished in seventh place in the standings for the third season in a row. Consistent, but not making much progress. For 2017, they kept both drivers on board, and prepared for another season of solid racing.

Learn more about Toro Rosso with the Pocket F1 Handbook.