Formula 1 2013 team guide: Toro Rosso

With two talented, young drivers in their stable the Red Bull development team will want to challenge their senior partner for podium finishes in 2013

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Founded: 2006

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Constructors’ titles: 0

Drivers’ titles: 0

Based: Faenza, Italy

Engine: Ferrari

2012 Championship position: 9th

Team principal: Franz Tost

Team director: James Key

Drivers: Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Riccardio

The junior partner in the Red Bull stable, up until now Tora Rosso’s business model has been clear: utilise the expertise and coaching of their senior partners and provide a testing ground for young drivers coming through, before their exposure on the biggest stage.

However, with new Technical Director James Key brought in from Sauber, this might just be the year the Faenza based outfit go hunting for glory in their own right.

Key has been brought in to address the shortcomings of a poor car last time out, and he certainly looks to have done that with the new STR8 model.

This is the first car Key has designed since leaving Sauber in 2012 and all of his knowhow has been harnessed into making an impressive looking racer, which has been giving the Williams car a run for its money all through testing.

One of the more interesting subplots of the season will be the development of Tora Rosso’s inexperienced driving pair Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Riccardo.

Vergne, a Frenchman hailing from Pontoisie in the north west suburbs of Paris, is competing in only his second season in F1, as is team-mate Australian Daniel Riccardio. Both secured their first ever points last season and have been tipped to improve on that this time around.

Indeed Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner himself has waxed lyrical about the talents of this young duo, and the incentive for them to succeed couldn’t be greater; a certain Sebastian Vettel cut his teeth at Tora Rosso for a season before graduating to the senior ranks, and we all know what happened there.

Vergne and Riccardio will have the freedom to make mistakes and take risks as they continue their development, and that could lead to some surprises out on the track. The bigger names had better beware the charge of the Tora Rosso.

Did you know?

Torro Rosso is the fifth sports team in the Red Bull stable – in recent years they have bought and rebranded Austrian football and hockey teams Red Bull Salzburg and Red Bull Salzburg EC, MLS side New York Red Bulls and, of course, Red Bull Racing. 

Franz fisticuffs

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Team principal Franz Tost has a reputation as something of a hothead. Following the 2007 European Grand Prix in Nurnberg he allegedly punched driver Scott Speed in the face after a rain-drenched race.