Toro Rosso deliver another year of the usual – mostly

2016 F1 season review

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The team that never really changes didn’t change much in 2016.

As usual team principal Franz Tost set a pre-season target which looked wildly optimistic: this time it was finishing fifth and taking a podium along the way. Neither came close to happening: Toro Rosso ended the year seventh.

The only unusual aspect of their season was the disappearance of hotshot Max Verstappen four races in. His promotion to Red Bull meant a return for Daniil Kvyat. Carlos Sainz Jnr had his new team mate comfortably handled all year long.

Toro Rosso team stats 2016

Best race result (number) 6 (4)
Best grid position (number) 5 (1)
Non-classifications (mechanical/other) 7 (6/1)
Laps completed (% of total) 2,161 (85.15%)
Laps led (% of total) 0 (0%)
Championship position (2015) 7 (7)
Championship points (2015) 63 (63)
Pit stop performance ranking 8

With a consistent driver line-up the team might have performed much better. Sainz vastly out-scored Kvyat over their 17 races together.

But once again the team’s reliability was sub-par. In theory using a year-old Ferrari engine should have guaranteed their car was more dependable, but the late decision to change suppliers meant the STR11 was finished in a hurry. The Red Bull Technologies gearbox was designed for a Renault and Toro Rosso were still experiencing problems with it at the final race. A return to current-spec Renault power next year should be a step forwards.

And as usual the team were not sharp enough in the pits or on the pit wall. A chance for a bumper points haul in Australia was squandered when they failed to take advantage of the opportunity to change tyres during the race suspension.

Later in the season Sainz was frustrated by slow stops, notably in Monaco where he plainly deserved a better result.

However he performed heroics in the latter stages of the year, continuing to drag the car into Q3 despite other teams having out-developed them. With Sainz returning next year and Kvyat having the off-season to rebuild his confidence, 2017 might finally be the year Toro Rosso look more like a racing team than Red Bull’s kindergarten.

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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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5 comments on “Toro Rosso deliver another year of the usual – mostly”

  1. Hmmm, @keithcollantine I think the best grid and race position were Verstappen best in RBR, not in STR.

  2. I still think that in testing, without its livery, this was the most beautiful car of 2016.

  3. Toro Rosso delivered some pretty impressive results considering they reportedly had the least powerful engine on the grid from Bahrain on wards(according to Mercedes analysis of GPS data.)

  4. Were you in a bad mood when you wrote this Keith? Just got back from christmas shopping? Toro Rosso as a team might not have lofty aims (do Force India or Sauber?), but they have at least been the stepping stone for three of the top talents in F1 currently, which justifies their existence in my opinion.

    Having said that, the decision to retain Kvyat still confounds me. I’m left to assume there’s an off-track obligation forcing their hand.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      22nd December 2016, 19:59


      I can understand why they wanted to keep Kvyat. They know he has had great momtns at times. He really wasn’t that bad last year and it wasn’t just luck that meant he beat Ricciardo. I think He will have been far stronger this year if the decision to move him to Toro Rosso had been made at the start of the season. His performance massivly dropped since being dropped but with a fresh start next year, I think he’ll be strong and could well match Sianz. Toro Rosso would’t keep him if they didn’t believe he had potential to improve. I still think that desision to move him part way though was too harsh no matter how good Verstappen has turned out to be. He just had one bad race. The other 2 he too part in were not bad at all. He recovered well from near the back in Bahrain and then got Red Bull’s first podium befor he got kicked out. Plenty of drivers have had clumsy moments like Kvyat and I don’t think he would have continued to have them. Verstappen demonstrated that he had terrible moments like the weekend at Monaco. Crashing the car 3 times all by himself really wasn’t impressive.

      Anyway, I think Kvyat will be back on form next year. I just hope he’ll be on the same team all year without getting knocked down! I will admit that he didn’t cope will with the move this year but I think it was that that affected his performance mostly. As I said, I reckon he’ll probably be able to match Sainz next year and I’m not the only one that thinks that.

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