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Ten times Toro Rosso stood out – the Red Bull junior squad reaches 200 F1 starts
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Sebastian Vettel Monza 2008
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  14 Sep 2016   |  2:45 pm GMT  |  23 comments

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.

Sebastian Vettel Monza 2008

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.

Vitantonio Liuzzi USA 2006

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.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber Japan 2007

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.

Sebastian Vettel China 2007

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.

Sebastian Vettel Monza 2008

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.

Sebastian Vettel Lewis Hamilton Brazil 2008

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.

Jaime Alguersuari Michael Schumacher

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.

Daniel Ricciardo Bahrain 2012

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.

Max Verstappen Carlos Sainz Australia 2015

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.

Max Verstappen Hungary 2015

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.

Daniil Kvyat Spain 2016

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.

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One of my most memorable STR moments was when Sebastian Buemi’s front wheels fell off at Shanghai. That was one of the most bizarre F1 crashes i’ve ever seen.

Guybrush Threepwood

As a Ricciardo fan, I will always remember Daniel holding off a much faster train of cars at Monza in 2013 (?) for some points. Also when he held off a rampaging Alonso at India. He showed some steely nerves early on.


It was stuff like this that made early-2014 less of a surprise for me!


Weren’t Webber and Vettel P2 and P3 respectively at the time of their clash? I remember because Lewis was in front of them doing weird stuff behind the safety car. Webber had already thrown up in the car, and I reckon might have been on for win #1 that day without being affected by that rookie brain-fade…


It was more about Hamilton’s erratic driving behind the safety car that caused the carnage.
Not the rookie brain fade.


I’m not sure about a win, but I do remember that Webber was less than impressed (to put it mildly 🙂 )


Well he had to drive around with food poisoning and vomit in his helmet, was doing a stellar job. I reckon after the safety car came in, if he as much as looked down the inside of Hamilton, Lewis would have jumped out of the way as the championship was in the balance. Then, as typically happened when Mark was having a blinder back in those days, fate intervened and he was sitting on the sidelines through no fault of his own…


I can’t think of a team I care less about. I hope it gets sold and becomes a privateer again.


That’s a bit harsh. STR actually give young drivers a chance to race in F1 based on their ability, rather than how much cash they have. That is something that almost no other team seems willing to do nowadays. They may be ruthless with their drivers, but at least they have a track record of giving them a shot.


That’s a bit of a harsh comment. STR is a genuine farm team and gives youngsters a proper chance. It’s an up or our environment, but even those who tried and failed seem to be grateful. Dr Marko is a hard taskmaster, but he generally recognizes talent when he sees it


So they can struggle for finances like Sauber, or run around at the back at the field again like they used to? No thanks.

Regardless, it’s nice to see you reading articles about teams you don’t care about but still care just enough to leave a comment 🙂


Maybe he cares that he doesn’t care. He would like to care about them but can’t and so he cares about that.


So…you’re saying that I should care about something he would like to care about but can’t so he cares about what he doesn’t care about wait now I’m confused again…


Jaime A, defence against Schumacher was excellent in 2010. In fact it was very entertaining.
👍Congrats to Toro Rosso 200 F1 starts👍


don’t want to be too pedantic but when you said only 3 drivers (vet, ric and Verstappen) have graduated to the senior team, didn’t Kvyat race for STR too?


Good spot, have updated.


2008 Monza was memorable, but – it could have been a 1-2. The TR was the package of the weekend. The “other Sebastian” Bourdais qualified 4th and had a good slug of fuel onboard for good measure, only for his car to refuse to start on the first SC lap………..and was thus a lap down even before the end of the first lap. Despite finishing 18th, his subsequent lap times showed that the little Italian car was THE pace setter that day. Imagine how history would have been different in the “other Sebastian” had won?

The differing experiences of the 2 Seb’s kind of epitomises Toro Rosso – one driver the cake, the other scrambles for the crumbs.


Nonsense, Vettels pole position time was 1 sec quicker than Bourdais time set for 4th place on the grid. It just so happened that alot of top cars were eliminated in Q2, otherwise Bourdais time would only be good enough for 7th place.


They knew that those top cars were out though, didn’t they? So they could go high fuel, and run long. Bourdais did qualify ahead of Massa in Q3 … their car was great for that race weekend. Then in the race, Bourdais’s best lap was 1.2 secs faster than Vettel’s.


Bourdais and Webber’s times were actually set in much worse conditions later in the session… and the championship contenders had a total shocker as you have pointed out.


‘It just so happened’. Isn’t that essentially what GazBoy was saying?


No, its not what he was saying. He said Toro Rosso was class leading and anybody would have won (from pole) or get second place yet Bourdais qualified only fourth even with Hamilton, Massa and Raikkonen not making it into Q3. Even with a decent start from fourth he would have to stay ahead of Hamilton and racing past Kubica and Kovaleinen to make it a Toro Rosso 1-2. Nothing of that ever happened so ….
I can also say Vettel would have amassed 100 points more than Hamilton if he was driving for Mercedes in either 2014, 15 or 16. Imagine how history …


Take KRBs points above. There’s almost always something else to the story. All that GazBoy is saying (in my opinion) is that Monza may have been a ‘sliding doors’ moment. A victory for Bourdais may have changed the outcome over the next few years (of course it may not have). The whole sport is littered with examples of ‘what ifs’ and on such fine margins are careers made and broken. It’s fine to not care about ‘what ifs’ but let others speculate if they want.

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