Toro Rosso beat new teams in first year with own car

2010 F1 season review

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Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Barcelona, 2010

Toro Rosso’s fifth F1 season was the first in which they had responsibility for building their own car. This spelled the end of them using machinery supplied by sister team Red Bull.

The team took an understandably conservative route with a car based closely on its predecessor. More technical staff were brought in as the team made the transition from a ‘satellite’ outfit to a fully-fledged racing car manufacturer.

This at least assured them a reliable car – they completed more laps than Renault and Force India did in 2010

But, perhaps inevitably, the team couldn’t keep up with the development pace of their rivals and finished ahead of only the new teams.

Toro Rosso team stats 2010

Best race result (number) 8th (1)
Best grid position (number) 11th (3)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other) 7 (3/4)
Laps completed (% of total) 1936 (85.74%)
Laps led (% of total) 1 (0.09%)
Championship position (2009) 9th (10th)
Championship points (2009*) 13 (28.5)
*using 2010 system

Toro Rosso may have gained independence from Red Bull when it comes to car design.

But they remain the junior outfit of Dietrich Mateschitz’s operation, trialling young drivers who may follow Sebastian Vettel’s route into to the top team.

This is arguably the worst of both worlds for Toro Rosso, as they now have to develop a car but are unlikely to take on the kind of experienced driver they need to speed up the process.

This led to mid-season driver changes in several recent seasons but both Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari were retained throughout this year.

During 2010 the pendulum clearly swung from the more experienced (though, at 22, not what you would call ‘old’) Buemi to the younger Alguersuari. Buemi started in front of Alguerauri for all bar one of the first ten races; over the final nine Alguersuari beat him by seven to two.

Buemi gave the team its best result of the season at Montreal where he also snuck into the lead for a lap – something no other driver outside the ‘big three’ teams managed to do, apart from Nico Rosberg.

What held Buemi back, particularly at the start of the season, was a series of accidents, many on the first lap of races.

An out-of-control Kamui Kobayashi battered him out of the race at Melbourne. Vitantonio Liuzzi did likewise at Shanghai in a dreadful weekend for Buemi, who had also crashed when both his front wheels fell off at 200mph during practice.

Though he was blameless in all of these cases Buemi might have avoided other incidents by taking a little more care on the first lap.

Alguersuari came on strong in the second half of the season and could easily have picked up more points finishes in the final races – he finished 11th three times in a row.

He had some interesting battles with Michael Schumacher in the early races, particularly at Melbourne where he frustrated the Mercedes driver’s passing attempts for several laps.

Interestingly, this team which has often left its driver plans fluid until the last minute confirmed both Buemi and Alguersuari for 2011 as early as July.

But they recently announced up-coming Red Bull development driver Daniel Ricciardo will drive in some Friday practice sessions for them next year, putting pressure on both their drivers to perform.

Suspicion will inevitably fall on Buemi getting the chop following his somewhat lacklustre end to the season and rumours about him and the team’s management not seeing eye-to-eye.

That may not have been helped by him revealing details of the team’s pre-Italian Grand Prix Vairano test plans on Twitter in a series of messages that were later deleted.

But the team clearly have the most to gain on the development side. The car lacked downforce, and two of 2010’s major ‘update trends’ – the F-duct and exhaust-blown diffuser – didn’t make it onto the car until the final races.

Toro Rosso ultimately finished one place higher in the championship this year than last. But they mainly have Toyota’s departure to thank for that.

They may well come under pressure from the likes of Lotus next season if they don’t make more progress with their chassis.

Toro Rosso’s 2010 season in pictures

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Toro Rosso beat new teams in first year with own car”

  1. Yay! :) Thanks for this article. Toro Rosso are just as much of a new team as Lotus… People building their own car for the first time but have contested many GP’s before.

    1. And before you say Toro Rosso had the Red Bull plans, wasn’t the Lotus last year’s Force India :P

      1. LOL, nice quip at them. Although Torro Rosso has at least manufactured and ran their own car for years now.

        I am curious about their plans for next year. With the Double diffusor gone, are they going to have a look back at last years car to do the back end?

        And their development of the EBD and the F-duct must have been an attemt at putting in the procedures to actually be able to develop something during the year (before 2010 they only did some work on front wings and cooling themselves).
        That is something where at Lotus and Virgin will probably be better equipped (Gascoyne is very good at that and Wirth has the CFD to speed it up) than STR.

    2. I know you’re a big Toro Rosso fan Tom but you’re way off there. First of all, there was clearly still significant carry over from the 2009 Red Bull chassis they had been using- it was hardly a brand new car.

      And to compare them to Lotus is a bit silly, as there was nothing bar the name linking the new Lotus to the old one. The only thing ‘new’ about Toro Rosso this year was the car, in all other aspects they were identical to how they ended 2009

      1. Doesn’t Red Bull Racing consist of two entities, Red Bull Racing (the team), and Red Bull Technology (the designers, manufacturers, etc, the technical people)? I was under the impression that Red Bull Technology provided “technology” to both Red Bull Racing, and Scuderia Toro Rosso?

    3. very much disagree…they didnt build there own car, anyone with eyes can see they used the RB5 as a base.

  2. During 2010 the pendulum the pendulum

    One extra!

    1. Fixed – thanks, er, Fixy.

  3. The only good thing that happened to Toro Rosso this season was Sebastian Vettel’s title win. It justified the need for a Red Bull junior team to bring through new talent, and should give them a stay of execution as Mateschitz ponders selling or even closing the them

    Hopefully next season they well either make a step into the midfield or Lotus and Virgin will get much closer to them. Too often this year they were in a race of their own between the established and new teams, and consequently I didn’t take much interest in how they were performing

    1. A good reason for you to keep an eye on them in 2011: the musical chairs game once we are 5 or 6 races into the season.

      My hunch is that one of the 3 players, er, drivers will eventually get a seat at RBR in 2012, so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top. The last man standing? Nope, the last man sitting.

  4. This year, they where almost allways the last of the experienced teams.
    They must do a very good job during the winter, otherwise they will stay too far away from Force India, Sauber and Williams, and will see Lotus and Virgin much more close.

  5. It’s bound to be a tough 2011 for them,I’m afraid. Vettel’s championship does justify the existence of the team… The way it was in 2008. But all by themselves and without a significant increase in budget, they are likely to struggle in 2011 just as much as they have in 2010: so much for its young drivers to shine…

    On a side note, best looking car of 2010, IMHO. Keith, have you considered a poll for us to vote for best looking car of 2010?

    1. He did do one around the testing time before the season. But one now would be good – after all the developments and all the coverage. It’d be good to see how opinions would have changed.

  6. One thing that RBR didn’t team STR? Exploding front suspension…a better “trick” (IMHO) than the “trick front wing” by the senior squad.

  7. You can’t say they are new. They have many things set, like management and such.
    And they had a base for their car!
    I expected a bit more to be honest, sure it wasn’t an easy task. But they must get some help and data from rbr for sure.

  8. I may have missed something along the way but what happened to the infrastructure and engineering talent of Minardi F1? Did they not build there own car(s)? Is the technical structure at STR completely different from just 5 or so years ago? SoLiDG said it best “You can’t say they are new.” and I agree. To lump them in with the new teams is an insult to someone… just not sure who given the circumstances….

  9. To say that STR are a “new team” is a bit like saying that Mercedes are a “new team”.

    They have always had the personel there to build a competetive car. But, until now, they haven’t had the need to do it.

    That they beat the “new teams” with their own car was only to be expected. May not be so lucky next season. In fact, I know that they won’t be so lucky!

  10. I Like Toro Rosso I’ve always had a soft spot for them.

  11. Please don’t judge me on that comment my Girlfriend will get a little shock

    1. Oh my good god.

  12. It strikes me as odd, that a design so closely resembling that of Red Bull’s in its basic architecture would struggle for downforce. Is this just another case of God is in the details Keith? I know they were late at developing an F-duct and an EBD, but the design seems sound. Any aero experts out there willing to comment on this?

  13. There will be a reason why it’s not possible (F1 rules and regulations no doubt), but if STR can use the RB6 as the basis for their 2011 car they could do worse. With the that chassis, the Ferrari engine, no F-duct, no double defuser and Pirelli tyres, they could have a quick-ish car.

    1. They will be basing their car on last years car, the RB5 (just like it was this year).

      Still they could do a lot worse for a basis. That car was really good without the double diffusor (which is gone nex year) so they might stand a chance of ending up with a solid car for next season.

  14. Jaime is going to be WDC, someday

    1. C’mon, you only say that cause he is a ‘dj’ too (which, I can deny it, is cool and convenient, him being a Red Bull guy and all…) ;-)

      1. I am thinking the same… And I am NOT a dj…

  15. With Ricardo in the team this will put more pressure on the existing two drivers & will push them to cross the boundary.

  16. Yeah, but their ******* of a team has had 4 years of experience. The new teams had none. They already had the facilities, they had the basic data from Red Bull & the basic design from Red Bull.

    For them to score bare minimum points… shows how much of a ****** car they managed to build. Waste of space. Waste of advertising space most of all!

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