Last season was a reality check for Toro Rosso after their giant-killing feats in 2008.
For the first time in their five-year history the team have had to manufacture their own car this season. How will they fare in 2010?
Toro Rosso?óÔé¼Ôäós decision to run a developed version of last year?óÔé¼Ôäós car could prove to be a smart decision as they switch from (effectively) running a customer car to becoming a full-blown constructor.
Because of this team team has expanded, adding 50 staff and now numbering around 200. The drawing office?óÔé¼Ôäós staff alone has increased from ten to 30.
The similarities between the STR5 and its predecessor (and the Red Bull RB5) are clear to see. The space left around the engine last year – which was intended to be occupied by a KERS which was never used – can now be deployed more effectively
It took until late in 2009 for the team to get a handle on the STR4 but once they did Sebastien Buemi started popping up in Q3.
The advantage of using last year?óÔé¼Ôäós car as a base of the new one should include greater reliability early in the season. It also allowed them to begin testing from the first day at Valencia, giving more precious driving mileage to its still quite inexperienced driver line-up.
Toro Rosso may be forging a path for itself as an independent constructor from Red Bull but it is still fulfilling its brief to be a hothouse for young driving talent which its big brother can then cherry-pick.
Buemi had a respectable and occasionally impressive debut season in 2009, quickly dispensing with Sebastien Bourdais and then making the most of the better car he had under him later in the season.
There were a few crashes ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ notably in that crazy weekend at Suzuka ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ but generally he impressed rather more than former F3 rival Romain Grosjean did.
Jaime Alguersuari coped admirably well being thrown in at the deep end and we should consider 2010 the beginning of his rookie campaign. His handful of races in the second half of last year was the testing he should have had before getting in the car.
But Toro Rosso has always been a high-pressure environment for young drivers. If Buemi or Alguersuari falls short it wouldn?óÔé¼Ôäót be a surprise to see Red Bull reserves Daniel Ricciardo or Brendon Hartley drafted in mid-season.
Should be a strong candidate for early-season points and not just thanks to the enlarged points system.
The arrival of the new teams should also flatter them.
They?óÔé¼Ôäóre striking it out on their own in terms of development. The conservative route they?óÔé¼Ôäóve taken is a wise one but it remains to be seen how the recently-enlarged team can manage the car?óÔé¼Ôäós development throughout the year.
Then there?óÔé¼Ôäós the question of how well the team?óÔé¼Ôäós two fairly inexperienced drivers will contribute to that process as well.
Poll: championship position
They shouldn’t be bottom of the pile as they were in 2009 but how many of the established teams can Toro Rosso beat in 2010? Caste your vote below.
Where will Toro Rosso finish in the 2010 Constructors' Championship?
- 1st (1%)
- 2nd (0%)
- 3rd (1%)
- 4th (0%)
- 5th (1%)
- 6th (7%)
- 7th (12%)
- 8th (25%)
- 9th (34%)
- 10th (14%)
- 11th (2%)
- 12th (1%)
- 13th (1%)
Total Voters: 883
See all the articles in the F1 Fanatic 2010 Season Preview
2010 F1 season
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