At this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, the Toro Rosso team will make its 200th Formula 1 race start since the former Minardi outfit was formed into the Red Bull junior squad.
Dietrich Mateschitz purchased the team 11 years ago in September 2005 and since the 2006 season the Faenza-based squad has been used as a development path for Red Bull’s young driver scheme.
In that time, the team has fielded 11 drivers, scored 311 points, one fastest lap, one pole and one race victory, that latter won eight years ago today by Sebastian Vettel.
Ahead of the team’s 200th race, JAonF1 looks back on 10 of its most memorable moments.
USA 2006 – Liuzzi grabs first points
Vitantonio Liuzzi gave Toro Rosso its first F1 point when he finished eighth at the 2006 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
The event was famous for the two first corner incidents that eliminated seven drivers and several more retirements later in the race meant there were just nine classified runners still circulating at the finish.
Liuzzi avoided the carnage to rise from 21st on the grid to finish eighth and deny Williams’ Nico Rosberg the final point.
Japan 2007 – Strong wet weather pace ends in tears
On paper this race looks disastrous for Toro Rosso as Vettel retired and Liuzzi lost what would have been the team’s first point of the year for overtaking Adrian Sutil under waved yellow flags.
But Vettel’s strong pace in the atrocious conditions was impressive as he rose from ninth on the grid to run first at one stage and in doing so he became the youngest driver to lead an F1 race, a record that Max Verstappen has since claimed.
But the German driver spectacularly blotted his copybook as he crashed into the back of Mark Webber’s Red Bull under the safety as they ran second and third on lap 45 of the 67-lap race.
China 2007 – Best team results
The 2007 Chinese Grand Prix remains Toro Rosso’s best ever performance in terms of finishing position for its two cars, as Vettel and Liuzzi came home fourth and six in wet conditions in Shanghai.
Vettel used a one-stop strategy to rise from 17th on the grid to fourth, and although he finished nearly a minute behind Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in third, the then 20-year-old passed and pulled away from Honda’s Jenson Button in the closing stages in only his seventh F1 race.
Italy 2008 – Vettel scores first pole and win
Toro Rosso’s most memorable race came at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix as Vettel claimed pole and the win in the rain at Monza, the team’s home event.
He controlled the race from pole position – while his teammate Sébastien Bourdais stalled on the grid when he was set to start fourth – and he comfortably held off McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen to become the youngest ever F1 winner, another record that has since been beaten by Verstappen.
That race remains Toro Rosso’s only win, podium, pole and front row start.
Brazil 2008 – Vettel nearly denies Hamilton title
Another fine display of wet weather driver thrust Vettel into the title spotlight as he became involved in a battle with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton over fourth place, which became fifth when the weather closed in during the closing stages – the position the British driver needed to win the title ahead of Massa.
Vettel looked set to deny Hamilton until they both passed Toyota’s Timo Glock – who was struggling for grip on slick tyres in the rain – at the final corner, which meant Hamilton got the points he needed to win the championship in dramatic circumstances.
Australia 2010 – Alguersuari defies Schumacher
The 2010 Australian Grand Prix was just the second race of Michael Schumacher’s F1 comeback and after a Turn 1 incident with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso he was forced to pit for a new front wing, which dropped him down the order.
In his recovery drive, the German driver got stuck behind Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari, who defied the seven times world champion for a significant chunk of the race.
Schumacher eventually got ahead with an aggressive move at Melbourne’s Turn 11 late in the race and Alguersuari had to settle for 11th, but the Spaniard credited the Mercedes driver’s move as a valuable lesson that he used to score his first ever F1 points at the next race in Malaysia, where he finished ninth.
Bahrain 2012 – Ricciardo qualifies high
Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne joined Toro Rosso at the start of 2012 with the possibility of Red Bull eventually picking one of them as a replacement for Mark Webber, who was coming towards the end of his F1 career.
Ricciardo laid down an early marker in the inter-team fight by qualifying sixth for the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix, although he ultimately slipped back down the order during the race and eventually finished 15th, one place behind Vergne.
It was the start of a close battle between the pair – Vergne finished ahead in the 2012 standings but was beaten by Ricciardo in 2013 – before Red Bull ultimately picked the Australian driver to replace Webber for 2014.
Ricciardo is one of only four drivers to graduate from Toro Rosso to Red Bull – the others being Vettel, Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat (although Liuzzi made his F1 debut for the senior team in 2005) – and he has gone on to score three wins and one pole position for the senior squad.
Australia 2015 – Youngest driver line-up
Verstappen and Sainz became Toro Rosso’s youngest ever driver pairing when they both made their F1 debuts at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix. The Dutchman was just 17 – the outright F1 record for youngest driver – while Sainz was 20.
In the race, Sainz finished ninth and Verstappen retired with a power unit problem when running solidly in the points.
Toro Rosso’s next youngest driver line-up was Jaime Alguersuari (19) and Sébastien Buemi, who first drove together at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hungary 2015 – Verstappen makes his mark
The 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix was one of the most memorable races of that season and Verstappen took advantage of the chaos to finish fourth.
The 17-year-old claimed his then best ever F1 result in just ten races despite also serving a drive through penalty for driving too fast behind the safety car.
Spain 2016 – Kvyat makes history
One of the most infamous moments in Toro Rosso’s history came earlier this season when Red Bull opted to promote Verstappen to its senior team and demote Daniil Kvyat.
The Russian driver responded by finishing tenth at the Spanish Grand Prix and setting the race’s fastest lap, which is so far the only time a Toro Rosso driver has achieved that feat in F1.
What have you made of Toro Rosso’s first 199 races? Is there another performance or result you would have picked for our list? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.