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Toro Rosso - The team that time forgot - A midfield runner left in the shadow of Red Bull

Published by Christine

Alguersuari navigates the terribly wet conditions in Korea
Credit: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Toro Rosso's main headlines this year have come from getting in the way of other drivers, or from just missing out on something significant. There have been more than a few penalties for them as this season draws to a close, and Alguersuari and Buemi seem to be getting quite frustrated at the lack of results. Who can blame them? I've never known a team be quite so anonymous. Even Virgin Racing, who are quite happy to pootle around at the back of the grid, are busy scrapping with the other new teams, and making headlines in other ways. But what of Toro Rosso?

The Red Bull B team have struggled for pace, and sat routinely in the mid-field. Either driver can occasionally scrape together some points, with 8th position being the highlight of the year so far. Between them, they have racked up 11 points, and Toro Rosso sits 9th in the championship. They've not reached the third session of qualifying yet, and have had one driver out in Q1 at least three times. They are not fast, they are not slow, they're sort of... nowhere.

The most obvious comparison to make is between Toro Rosso and Red Bull, which is supremely unfair because the RBR flies around each track as though it is strapped to a rocket. They have different engines, but if the fight is a Renault vs. a Ferrari, you would pick the prancing horse to win, wouldn't you? Toro Rosso have so far failed to bring the so-called F Duct to the car, and despite several assertions that it would help, it just hasn't come to fruition yet.

It is always difficult to quantify what you can gain with the F-duct. But one thing that is for sure is that if you can get it to work properly, it's between two and six/seven tenths - it depends on the circuit. So we've got to make it work, because this is the way we will be able to fight against Sauber and finish ahead of them in the championship.

- Sébastien Buemi

I drove the STR5 in our last aero test of the season, when we took the decision not to run the F-duct in Korea. It was not producing the results we expected, which is a shame as it would have been an advantage for us given the layout of this circuit.

- Jaime Alguersuari

With two races left, and the device banned for next year, it's unlikely we'll see it on the Toro Rosso at all.

Buemi and Alguersuari both seem very lovely drivers, and both competent. Jaime has had to learn at least half the tracks on the 2010 calendar, so whilst perhaps not a rookie in the traditional sense, he's had that same hill to climb. It must be hard for the team as a whole, when you have had the highlight and/or shadow of a young Sebastian Vettel taking a surprise win. The German's shining talent brought Toro Rosso to sixth in the championship in 2008. The next year they needed three drivers to try and compete with that, and couldn't come close.

In 2010, they have not embarrassed themselves, but have not shone either. With constant speculation over the future of the team - essentially resting on the whim of Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz - points are increasingly important. Buemi's five place grid drop for Brazil is not going to help. But what do you make of Toro Rosso? Are the team surplus to requirements in the sport now, or are they just biding their time until big things happen for them again?