Toro Rosso fall well short of sixth place target

2013 F1 season review

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Last year Dietrich Mateschitz demanded “significant improvements” from his second team, which had only finished in front of the point-less 2010 entrants. Team principal Franz Tost set a target of sixth in the constructors ‘championship.

It’s doubtful either were happy with the end result. Toro Rosso moved up one place this year but you could argue this owed more to Williams slipping backwards than Toro Rosso making serious gains.

However the team did fulfil what is arguably its true purpose for the second time in its eight-year existence: it provided a new driver for sister team Red Bull.

Toro Rosso team stats 2013

Best race result (number)6 (1)
Best grid position (number) 5 (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other) 8 (4/4)
Laps completed (% of total) 2,015 (88.77%)
Laps led (% of total) 0 (0%)
Championship position (2012)8 (9)
Championship points (2012)33 (26)
Pit stop performance ranking7

Daniel Ricciardo will join 2008 Toro Rosso graduate Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year having impressed the team more than Sebastien Bourdais, Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari and Jean-Eric Vergne did in the meantime.

The team invested considerable effort in raising its game this year with the hiring of James Key from Sauber as technical director. The STR8, penned by chief designer Luca Furbatto (another recent recruit), did away with the steeply undercut sidepods of its predecessor which he said had “proved difficult to develop”.

In terms of performance the STR8 seemed a modest step forward. Toro Rosso were firmly rooted in the mid-to-rear portion of the midfield for much of the season. But in Canada a strong qualifying performance by Vergne set him up for an excellent run to the team’s best result of the year, sixth. It was the kind of performance that hinted at his potential but eluded him for most of the year.

Ricciardo performed more consistently but it’s his superior qualifying record (he beat Vergne 15-4 with more than twice as many Q3 appearances) which marks him out as a potential front runner.

But as Toro Rosso continue to tread water in the midfield the most interesting thing about their season with the selection of Ricciardo’s successor. The likes of Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jnr were passed over for 19-year-old Daniil Kvyat. Following his appointment Kvyat scooped the GP3 title and impressed in a wet practice session in Interlagos, marking him out as one to keep an eye on next year.

Toro Rosso drivers 2013 race results

Jean-Eric Vergne12101286121214181213171615
Daniel Ricciardo18716101581213107191310161110

Toro Rosso’s 2013 season in pictures

2013 F1 season review

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Image © Red Bull/Getty

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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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19 comments on “Toro Rosso fall well short of sixth place target”

  1. Do Torro Rosso and Red Bull Racing share information regarding their cars? I thought they did a few years ago anyway. Considering they are ‘sister-teams’, the RB9 was a beast of a car, yet the STR8 was a just not good enough (Or maybe their current drivers aren’t that good).
    I know their engines are different, but the gap is still pretty significant..

    1. If my memory serves me, 2010 was the first season they competed solely, because if you notice the cars looked more or less identical to Red Bull’s up to and including 2010. They’ve looked noticeable different to Red Bull’s since. Perhaps sharing the same engine next season will help in information sharing.

      1. Perhaps running* the same engine…

        1. “sharing” — I had a vision then of all the engines being in the pitlane revving, with long pipes sending pure “horsepower” to the cars out on track, like a life-sized scalextric :)

      2. 2009 the teams were allowed to share technology, so they had more or less the same car. In 2010, the cars looked similar, because they had the same base to start with.
        From 2010 onwards, each team developed the cars on their own, which lead to more and more differences between the two.

    2. @gdewilde the FIA changed some rules in 2008 and from 2009 onwards they had to design/build their own cars. Not sure how they police it but the exchange of information and technology is heavily regulated and teams can lose the status of constructor if they don’t follow it.

      1. The true is TR had a poor driver line-up …. I suppose next year will be embarrassing to watch both drivers being humiliated by their team mates (Vettel and Kvyat).

  2. RB and STR used to use a common chassis but not anymore as the practise was outlawed after 2008 season I believe it was. So STR8 and RB9 are at best very very distant relatives. Next year will be better for them as it will be James Key’s first car proper and he is very good at big bang for small bucks aero!!!

    1. So STR8 and RB9 are at best very very distant relatives.

      If you ask my relatives, STR8 and RB9 are basically twins! They can’t distinguish them…

  3. Really a season of what could have been for Vergne. Both drivers are good (or are they ? There is really no way to know). The car gremlins Vergne has had to work with and the fact that there were so little wet sessions this year (and that in the last one, TR botched the strategy) are really a shame.

    When I look at the succession of TR drivers, I have to say : there is no way of knowing who was good, who wasn’t. Bourdais wasn’t as good as Vettel, tough luck. Buemi and Alguersari were evenly matched. Was any of them good or bad ? Vergne and Ricciardo have impressive junior formulae credentials. They are pretty even matched. How good are they ? How bad is the car ?

    1. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
      5th December 2013, 14:11

      Ricciardo beat Vergne 15-4 in qualifying this year, in equal machinery Vergne got beat straight out. Add to that Ricciardo’s ability to provide engineers good feedback, as stated by Red Bull, and there was no chance Vergne was going anywhere near the RB10.

      1. Vergne will be lucky to get anywhere near the STR9 after Hungary next season. That’s just my two cents. ;)

      2. I’m not saying Vergne is better than Ricciardo, I just say he got an awful luck this season. But because I like to answer to very biaised choice of stats with another, I’d like to highlight that the two best results of TR this year were from Vergne.

        1. Phrased otherwise, we could say that the only driver to really stand out and make a difference compared to his team mate was … Vettel.
          As you said, for the rest of them, results were quite similars with some advantages (quali of Ric) over the other but nothing really transcanding either when it came to race results.

  4. I think it’s a mistake to consider STR a driver development team. As the moribund stats show, Red Bull can’t afford to promote mediocrity from the junior team just to keep Marko’s ego happy, although that’s clearly a consideration. And it’s very clear at this stage that the best driver in the world doesn’t make as much difference as having the fastest car.

    What STR does is provide a full size training simulator for engineers, strategists, mechanics, designers, fabricators and all the other backroom staff who make and run the cars. We know that Ferrari have always used their engine client teams to keep an eye on promising minds, ready to promote them at the necessary time, but str is another step above this again: not only are red bull able to observe the staff, they are able to mould and develop them into red bull’s working culture too. Don’t forget that in many respects how you do things is as large a part in success as what you do. That’s why the same team who were useless under Honda or jaguar were winners when Brawn or Horner took the reins. No other team has this training ground, although they may have technology partnerships or send junior staff out on placements to gain experience (as mclaren supposedly did with Jackob Andreason and Force India).

    Torro Rosso may not have provided many drivers to Red Bull but that doesn’t mean they haven’t given them staff, and development space to try new ideas from “red bull technology ltd”…

    1. Well rumours say that James Key could be a replacement for Newey, so it would make sense to “evaluate” him just like they do with their drivers.

  5. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    5th December 2013, 14:46

    What I wonder is: What happens if next year Kyvat proves to be a “monster” but so does Daniel? What could Red Bull do? I mean, they have been looking forward to having “the next super driver” after finding Vettel. If they find two, I guess Red Bull Company should reinforce the budget of Toro Rosso. That could be a win-win. I mean, they can have a second strong team (but just not so strong) so they could annoy McLaren, Lotus or even Ferrari, but without compromising Red Bull (or maybe?)

    1. @omarr-pepper unlikely that will happen – though, if, I think RB would wait and see what Vettel does in 2016 and not make a decision at the end of 2014.

  6. The funny thing about TR, is that it is probably the least exciting outfit out there. Even this article proves it : it’s going to be one of the least commented on the site !

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