Posts Tagged ‘toro rosso’

More cars unveiled as first test kicks off

February 1st, 2010 No comments

The first pre-season test of 2010 kicks off at Valencia today which means it is the first chance to see how the different cars perform on track.

On the weekend, BMW Sauber and Renault launched their 2010 machines. The BMW Sauber C29, despite the name of the team, is powered by a Ferrari engine and as Drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi pulled back the covers at the Valencia circuit a car with a very high nose and a long shark fin was revealed.

Shark fins seem to be popular this year as Renault’s new car is also sporting one. The R30, to be piloted by Robert Kubica and Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov, was also unveiled on Sunday. With the departure of sponsor ING, Renault has returned to their historic yellow and black livery which gave the Renault RS01 the nickname ‘Yellow Teapot’.

On Monday morning, Toro Rosso revealed their first car as a fully independent constructor. Team boss Franz Tost said:

After four years of working in collaboration with Red Bull Technology, the STR5 is the first car that is one hundred percent down to our own endeavours.

Although the car looks quite similar to last year’s STR4, it has been designed to take full advantage of running a double-diffuser.

Mercedes GP also revealed their W01 in the pit lane ahead of today’s test (the car presented at the team’s launch last week was a repainted Brawn BGP01). It is a nice looking car with a graceful, swooping nose and a small shark fin engine cover.

Williams are foregoing an official ‘launch’ and will reveal their Cosworth-powered FW32 when it rolls out of the garage for it’s installation lap.

Pictures of the Renault R30 below:

After four years of working in collaboration with Red Bull Technology, the TR5 is the first car that is one hundred percent down to our own endeavours.
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Jaime Alguersuari to be the youngest ever F1 driver

July 20th, 2009 No comments

Jaime AlguersuariThe worst kept secret in Formula One is now official.  Jaime Alguersuari will replace Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso from the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.

The Spaniard has been competing in World Series by Renault and is the reigning British F3 Champion.  He will also be 19 years, 4 months and 3 days old on Sunday 26 July.

This will make him the youngest ever driver to compete in the Formula One World Championship, beating the previous record held by New Zealander Mike Thackwell of 19 years, 5 months and 1 day although this record is debatable.

Thackwell did line up on the grid at the 1980 Dutch Grand Prix but he was involved in an accident on the first lap which caused the race to be restarted.  According to the regulations, if a race is stopped on the first lap, that lap is annulled and the race is started again.  As Thackwell’s car didn’t make it to the grid for the restart, technically his first race was not until four years later.

This means the record was really held by Ricardo Rodríguez, the brother of Mexico’s only Grand Prix Winner Pedro Rodríguez, who was 19 years, 6 months and 27 days when he started the 1961 Italian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel remains the youngest Formula One driver to appear at a race weekend, though.  In August 2006 he was BMW’s Friday driver at the Turkish Grand Prix when he was just 19 years, 1 month and 22 days old.

It is going to be hard for Alguersuari to make his debut half way through the season when he has never driven the car before and will have zero testing time but he seems to know what he is getting himself in for:

I am aware that I’m facing a very tough challenge, because coming into Formula One is never easy, coming into Formula One in the middle of a season is even harder and doing so without any testing is really difficult. But already I feel that I am getting great support from the team, who have quite a reputation for looking after rookie drivers.

Team boss Franz Tost seems to have limited expectations anyway:

I do not expect anything from him for at least his first three races, during which he has to get used to the car, the team and to the Formula One environment.

It seems a strange choice to me to drop (an admittedly struggling) Sebastien Bourdais for a rookie halfway through the season.

Toro Rosso will be bringing their new double diffuser to the Hungaroring this weekend.  It will be interesting to see what the two young drivers can do with it.

Image: Getty

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A new start in Barcelona

May 5th, 2009 No comments

Rubens Barrichello, Bahrain, 2009Jenson Button and Brawn GP have dominated the start of the 2009 Formula One season, winning three out of the four races so far.  If you listen to Renault’s Flavio Briatore that is almost entirely down to a ‘unique’ interpretation of the rules but since the FIA declared double-decker diffusers legal all the ‘non-diffuser’ teams have been working hard to redesign the back of their cars.

After the flyaway races in the East, the Spanish Grand Prix marks the start of the European tour and most teams will be bringing significant car updates to the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend.  These updates, and the fact that the drivers and teams know the track backwards from winter testing, should make for a close race on Sunday.

One of only three teams to use KERS this season, BMW have abandoned the device for Spain in favour of a comprehensive aerodynamic update.  Team boss Mario Theissen said:

We will not be equipping either cars with KERS in Barcelona.  It was a case of lining up with either a comprehensive aerodynamic update or KERS.  The tuning time on Friday would be too short.

I’m not sure why they can’t run KERS with the new aero update but BMW will be hoping it brings an improvement to their apalling start to the season.

Now that in-season testing is banned, the teams face a new problem when developing their cars this year.  Previously, teams could run many miles testing new aero packages before racing them.  This year it won’t be until they take to the track in Friday practice that they will know if any new parts are successful. Toro Rosso’s chief engineer, Laurent Mekies:

Obviously we don’t have testing now so we have to understand how the upgrade suits the direction we have taken so far.  Does it push in the same direction or does it ask us to reconsider some of the choices we have made already?

McLaren already made significant improvement in Bahrain with Lewis Hamilton wringing the most out of the MP4-24 to finish fourth and so will not be bringing anything special to Spain.  The Barcelona track is unlikely to suit the McLaren but Hamilton remains hopeful of another strong finish:

We won’t have the bigger upgrades of some of the other teams as we already introduced several new parts during the opening flyaways, so it will be interesting to see where we sit in the order. Nevertheless, the engineers are optimistic that our new diffuser and front wing will once again help us to make progress towards the front of the grid.

Currently fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, McLaren will be hoping for a stronger performance at Barcelona than they displayed there in winter testing.

Image: Brawn GP

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Toro Rosso launch STR4 (Pictures)

March 9th, 2009 No comments

Toro Rosso STR4I like a press release with swear words in it. In the “rather impressive press kit” accompanying Toro Rosso’s launch of their new car they reveal that Red Bull’s motives for taking over the Minardi team in 2005 were that they “just liked pissing people off by buying a second team.”  Nice.  STR have their own unique style.

What is not so unique is their 2009 F1 car, the STR4, which was rolled out at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside Barcelona on Monday morning.  At first glance it looks like a carbon copy of the RB5 and, indeed, it uses the same Adrian Newey designed chassis as the  Red Bull car.  But acording to Toro Rosso’s Technical Director, Giorgio Ascanelli, the STR4 is not just a rebadged RB5:

It’s a common misconception that before the start of the season a big truck turns up in Faenza from Milton Keynes, its back door folds down and, hey presto, a fully-built Toro Rosso car rolls out. In fact, Scuderia Toro Rosso has far more control over its technical destiny, right from the design stage through to construction.

I guess most of the differences are under the skin though because it’s going to be hard to tell these two cars apart on the track.  Replacing the Red Bull’s Renault engine with Ferrari power caused a lot of redesign of the internal plumbing as Ascanelli explains:

Different engines have different heat rejection and different operating temperatures, with materials specified to different levels. Also, the tolerances, which you have to respect when building an engine, are tuned in such a way that an engine works at its best within a defined temperature range. This in itself conditions the radiators and also all of the internal aerodynamics. That then impacts on the aero side and this work is also done in Faenza.

All of this in-house design work will be good preparation for the team.  Next year, the Toro Rosso customer car exemption will run out and the team will have to design and build their own car from scratch.

Pictures of the new car below:

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Toro Rosso confirm Bourdais

February 6th, 2009 No comments

Sebastien BourdaisFrenchman Sebastien Bourdais will return for a second season at Toro Rosso this year.  This means that, barring Honda’s return, all F1 seats are filled for 2009.  It also means that for a second year in a row both Toro Rosso drivers will be called Sebastien.

While team-mate Sebastien Buemi was confirmed at STR last month, both Bourdais and former Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato were competing for the second seat.

Despite Sato performing well in testing, it seems money was the deciding factor in choosing to go with Bourdais.  With two teams to run, Red Bull needed a driver who could bring in the lucre.  Sato’s manager Andrew Gilbert-Scott:

Taku had showed tremendous speed and commitment during the three tests he did for the team and I believe he proved to be the faster driver. Unfortunately however the team made no secret about the fact that they would need the drive to bring a substantial amount of funding to the team to secure the drive. We have all been working very hard and have been able to attract a significant amount of sponsorship to support the team but unfortunately it was obviously not enough to secure the drive.

Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost said:

We are pleased that Sebastien will be with us again for another season. After one year with Toro Rosso, we expect him to profit from the experience he gained last season. He now knows the F1 environment, the race tracks and the team. In addition, the slick tyres, which make a comeback this year, should suit his driving style very well. Therefore he will tackle the coming season with much more experience under his belt. This will be especially valuable given that our other driver, Sebastien Buemi, is an F1 rookie, who has come up through the ranks of the Red Bull Junior Driver programme.

So Taku joins the ranks of talented drivers without a seat in Formula One this year.  Speaking on Friday, Sato said he still feels he has “unfinished business in F1”.

If the Team Formerly Known as Honda manage to find a buyer could Sato find a job there?  They will obviously want to retain Jenson Button but is Rubens Barichello’s seat so secure?  Sato has a history with Honda and as I’ve said before, I’d like to see him on the grid this year.

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