Tost sets tough target for Toro Rosso’s junior duo

2015 F1 season preview

Posted on

| Written by

The team

Toro Rosso has always been referred to as Red Bull’s junior team, and this year the emphasis is very much on ‘junior’.

However their role has gained further importance as they are the only other outfit using Renault’s engines. They can therefore make a useful contribution to the development of the Energy F1 power unit.

Nonetheless, this isn’t an F1 racing team in the conventional sense, merely the last rung on Red Bull’s driver development ladder. That at least ensures them the financial support of one of F1’s biggest spenders, but at the same time the knowledge they aren’t playing to win the big prizes.

Given that, team principal Franz Tost’s target of fifth place in the constructors’ championship is extremely ambitious. Can the team which ended last year a distant seventh beat Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren or one of the Mercedes-powered teams? Realistically they’ll have to tick at least three of those boxes.

What’s more, they’ll have to do it with a brand new driver line-up. Not only that, one which has a total of zero F1 starts between them and is the youngest pairing the sport has ever seen.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

The drivers

33. Max Verstappen

A remarkable amount of ill-informed ageist drivel has been spouted by those with next to no knowledge of Verstappen’s junior career. Leaving aside the fact of his record-breaking youth, a stellar 2013 campaign in karts followed by an outstanding first year in Formula Three clearly marked him out as an F1 driver of the future.

Now Red Bull have made him an F1 driver of the present, and hopefully everyone can start paying attention to how good he is instead of how old he isn’t.

55. Carlos Sainz Jnr

The son of two-times World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz has been a curiosity in Red Bull’s Junior Team. Despite being the first of their drivers to win the Formula Renault 3.5 championship – a feat neither Daniel Ricciardo nor Jean-Eric Vergne achieved – his faltering progress clearly did not inspire a cast-iron certainly that he is Formula One material.

It wasn’t until Sebastian Vettel’s sudden departure from Red Bull opened up an extra vacancy that he seemed likely to make the jump.

The car

It is clear the STR10 is a more conservative vehicle for Renault’s upgraded 2015 power unit than its Red Bull cousin. It certainly ran more reliably from the off when testing began.

The general impression gleaned from testing was that Ferrari has made greater gains than Renault in this area. If that is indeed the case, it’s not hard to image how Toro Rosso could find themselves bringing up the rear in Australia, particularly as neither of its drivers have raced there before.

However the team got its Melbourne-specification aerodynamic kit on the car early at the final test and Sainz was pleased with the outcome. That at least raises hopes they will hit the ground running in Australia.

Over to you

What do you expect from F1’s youngest ever driver pairing? How close will Toro Rosso get to their target of fifth place?

Have your say in the comments.

2015 F1 season

Browse all 2015 F1 season articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

21 comments on “Tost sets tough target for Toro Rosso’s junior duo”

  1. Random musings: Are they the first team to have their drivers having the same ‘double digit’ numbers?

  2. it is absolutely impossible to forecast just where this team will finish up! two drivers who have never driven an F1 race in their life in a car that is not destined to perform anywhere near some of their closest rivals. people can voice opinions but they mean zippedy doo dah ATM.

  3. Interesting to compare these two young ‘uns – who never did GP2 – with Sauber’s newcomers who were in GP2 for years. See who are the better racers in F1.
    These two teams may be fighting among themselves near the back, as there’s experience and continuity all around them in the midfield. McLaren could be there too, to begin with, and you might say there’s some experience there…

  4. Verstappen was brilliant during preseason, so consistent. Autosport dedicated a lot of time to him, as did Sky, and everyone involved were so impressed. I think he can drive that car beyond its limits, a la Alonso in Minardi days and Vettel in the STR.

    1. “Beyond its limits” sure…

    2. The real question is, can he drive in traffic? As he and 17 other people all try to go through turn 1 at the same time, will he survive the melee? Does he know when to grab a passing opportunity with both hands, or does he wait for the textbook approach to happen? Can he make the split second decisions that mean gaining 5 places on the start? Can he juggle ERS modes and brake balance while preserving his tires while going faster and using less fuel?

      F1 isn’t just about being quick around a given track.

      1. The real question is, can he drive in traffic?
        As he and 17 other people all try to go through turn 1 at the same time, will he survive the melee?
        Does he know when to grab a passing opportunity with both hands, or does he wait for the textbook approach to happen?
        Can he make the split second decisions that mean gaining 5 places on the start?

        @grat: #1 check, #2 check, #3 check, #4 check.

        Watch this video, 12 yrs old, having to start from last because of engine problems earlier:

        The kid is going to blast lots of peoples minds.

  5. P5 is very ambitious. They will have to beat a Mercedes-powered team, whether that be Lotus or Force India.

  6. 5th seems overly ambitious. Mercedes, Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari clearly seem faster so it would be a very big surprise if Toro Rosso ends up ahead of one of them. Which means 5th place is still a possibility, but this means they need to be ahead of:

    – Manor – almost certain (99.9%)
    – McLaren – quite a good chance but by no means certain (60%)
    – Lotus – rather unlikely (25%)
    – Force India – fifty/fifty (50%)

    Assuming independent probabilities (which is not quite true since Lotus and Force India share the same engine), I get a probability of 7% of Toro Rosso ending up in 5th place.

    I think 6th or 7th is much more likely so they should have set 6th as the achievable goal.

    1. I like that they are very ambitious, however this can also bit them in the ars. Problem that Torro Rosso has is that they are running a Renault engine which has 70hp less than its nearest competitors, which is quite allot. And I don’t think that they are that much gain from an aero advantage over Force India and Lotus.
      Mike Dee: Where do you see Sauber in this midfield battle, personally I see Sauber a bit behind on race pace compared to the others, but who knows!

      Weird part is that every team has been happy during this pre-season with their performance (Lotus, STR, Sauber) and relatively also Force India with their 2 days of testing.

      McLaran will be at the start behind but will overtake the midfield team later on through the season.

      I would say STR will finish 6th closely followed by Lotus and Force India, mainly due to the fact that I guess these teams have a lower budget and that would cost them in the end.

      More Interesting though will be the battle between the 2 drivers, whom will perform better. You would say that Carlos Sainz has the edge at this moment due to his win in FR 3.5, however Verstappen looks very solid from what I hear from the experts. Sainz has made several errors during pre-season testing and seemed to struggle a bit more with the car.
      At the end of the season I think that Verstappen will win this battle.

  7. Tost saying 5th or they are toast? Very ambitious and perhaps undermining a few of the opponents I think.

    I think TR will be second last (Manor last) this season. Inexperienced drivers and least gains from PU contributing to it.

  8. I’m very excited to see what Verstappen can do. I’ve never seen his age as a problem, because if a team is convinced enough to sign a driver then they are usually good enough.

    I remember people saying that drivers like Button, Alonso, Raikkonen and more recently Kvyat were too young and/or inexperienced for F1 and that they would crash and burn. 3 of them are now world champions, and the other scored points on debut and has just been promoted to a top team in only his second season of F1.

  9. Alex van Zanten
    3rd March 2015, 18:28

    Being Dutch i am biased, but following Max career from early on, it is amazing how he adjust and drives like most people breathe. It seems natural to him and he just does seem to make real mistakes in testing. I just hope he keeps his brawn that he showed during his races in F3, even though his overtakes where not always successfull he might shake up concepts of F1 where you can overtake. To be honest I am worried about the renault engine being to weak. But hope they have been running on the lower powersetting.

  10. Don’t think they will be able to get 5th place. 7th maximum.

    Good luck to them, though. Their both drivers are big talents even though people tend to only concentrate on MV.

    Last but not least, apart from the nose tip the STR10 is the most beautiful car of 2015 for me. The shape is spectacular. Bring memories of the early 90’s most beautiful cars

  11. I’m really start to like this team. Since 2014, they have gotten more out of the shadows and contributed to the show. Last year they showed glimpses of good pace, especially in qualifying, even though their reliability was below average. If they can do better this year, and be more reliable while doing it; good for them! They certainly look to mean business with the huge upgrade package they showed at the last Barcelona test. Another great thing about this team is the pure driver talent it possesses. Both Verstappen and Sainz are there on merit, and I cannot wait to see who turns out to be the best, and with what margin.

  12. My only conclusion with Tost saying Toro Rosso must finish 5th (there’s no quote, so I’m assuming that’s what he said) is that Renault will buy the team at the end of the year because of poor performance. ;)

  13. I think James Key may be destined to the actual Red Bull team very soon. With Prodromou at Mclaren and Newey looking to move on.

    Looking at his form at Sauber and now Torro Rosso I don’t think it will just be drivers they use the team as a breeding ground for.

    Last year on occasion the Torro Rosso was mixing it with the Red Bulls.

  14. The only thing I wonder about, is if Max controls his temper. Jos maybe started it, but I do know that the Verstappen’s both got angry in the Ferrari winter series because they thought Max didn’t get the same engine as others.

    Jos’ temperament killed his F1 career, trying too hard and ending up in the gravel. On the other hand, he did entertain us!

    Max will do the same I’m sure. Succesful or not is only a guess.

    1. Max is actually the opposite of his dad and has a much more relaxed character. Yes for sure he will make some rookie mistakes at the beginning of the season, but for sure he is not a hot head as his dad.

    2. Of course they got angry, that is the only thing to do in that kind of situation. Btw, the weren’t the only ones complaining about the engine issue. And how surprisingly, after the complaint the advantage that ‘certain drivers’ seemed to have was all of a sudden all gone.

  15. Hmm..Toro Rosso’s goal of 5th makes me suspicious. Could they be after the place on the strategy group so Red Bull can have more say to changing things and stopping Mercedes? I wonder if Torro Rosso got some budged upgrade to achieve this goal.

Comments are closed.