A lot has changed in Formula 1 cars since 2020, despite the fact that the biggest rule changes won't take effect...
From 2020, Scuderia Toro Rosso changed their name to Scuderia AlphaTauri. The clothing brand under the Red Bull umbrella will be the namesake of the Red Bull Racing satellite team from 2020, which will hunt for records under a new name. This remains the case for 2021.
|Team Name||Scuderia AlphaTauri|
|Team Leader||Franz Tost|
|Technical Leader||James Key|
Who will drive for Alpha Tauri in 2021?
The team have a blend of youth and experience for 2021. Pierre Gasly remains at the team and therefore becomes a clear team leader. He is joined by Japanese talent Yuki Tsunoda.
Training team and guinea pig
In 2005, the ailing Minardi received a hand from Dietrich Mateschitz, the big boss of energy drink manufacturer Red Bull. At that time Red Bull had just finished its first season in Formula 1, but Mateschitz wanted more. Like its sister team Red Bull, Toro Rosso's first seasons were tough.
They were stuck with the Cosworth engine (taken over from the contract Minardi had signed) and although at first the V10 seemed to be an advantage (from 2006 the V8 was mandatory unless approval was given to teams with less money; something Minardi and therefore Toro Rosso could use), the teams with a V8 in the back took much bigger steps.
With big brother Red Bull switching to Renault engines, Toro Rosso got the discarded contract of Ferrari. Nowadays that would be received with cheers, but then it was the engine of Ferrari of the previous season: a specification of more than a year old.
With Ferrari's engine and Sebastian Vettel (as a replacement for Scott Speed) Toro Rosso managed to achieve fourth place in China. The best result so far, in only the second season of Formula 1.
The first problems for Toro Rosso also arise in 2007, when it was announced that teams are no longer allowed to receive an almost complete car 'gift' from a satellite team. Since Red Bull and Toro Rosso did use such a construction, Dietrich Mateschitz put the team in the shop window.
One season later, with Toro Rosso still for sale, Sebastian Vettel turned the world upside down. The German not only took pole position in the home race (Toro Rosso rides with an Italian license) at Monza, but also won the race. An achievement that has allowed the young Seb to be promoted to Red Bull Racing for the 2009 season: To be a training team is a fact.
After passing through Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull starts to use Toro Rosso on the assembly line to get drivers used to Formula 1 before they make the big step. Sebastien Buemi emerged from the program in 2009, as did Jaime Alguersuari in the 2011 season.
Both gentlemen were sidelined in 2012 to give Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne a chance. We are a training school for rookies', team boss Franz Tost said. That same year technical director James Key stepped aboard to give the team a push in the right direction.
Vergne and Ricciardo also got a seat in 2013, a year in which Mark Webber announced that he would throw in the towel after the last race. The battle between Vergne and Ricciardo to claim the spot at Red Bull had begun, with Ricciardo putting his best foot forward at the right time. Daniil Kvyat (alias De Torpedo) was brought in as a replacement for Ricciardo, with Vergne starting his third season at Toro Rosso in 2014.
The Short Era Max Verstappen
One week before the Belgian Grand Prix Vergne got the bad news: he was working on his last season with Toro Rosso and would be replaced in 2015 by the Dutchman Max Verstappen. At that time, only sixteen years old, would have the opportunity to prove himself at a young age. Not next to Daniil Kvyat, as the Russian moved on to Red Bull to replace outgoing Sebastian Vettel.
Vergne hoped to stay with Toro Rosso because of that departure, but Red Bull chose otherwise. Carlos Sainz was appointed to keep Max Verstappen company (future teammate Pierre Gasly was also on the list of candidates). A golden choice, as it turns out, with Max Verstappen who in his first season manages to finish fourth twice and collect 49 points. Carlos Sainz has to settle for 18 points.
After one year and a few races in 2016, Daniil Kvyat is returned to Toro Rosso and Max Verstappen takes the spot at Red Bull Racing. That season Red Bull's satellite team doesn't make much of an impression with the all-new car (in order to be able to give the new Ferrari engine a place) and moves back to Renault for the 2017 season.
That season Carlos Sainz remained with Toro Rosso, but Daniil Kyat was replaced by Pierre Gasly for the Malaysian Grand Prix (and the GP's after that). As part of the announced switch to Honda motorcycles for the 2018 STR13, Carlos Sainz was lent to the Renault team (replacing Jolyon Palmer) and Brendon Hartley joined Toro Rosso. Hartley-Gasly would also be Toro Rosso's duo in 2018.
AlphaTauri F1 in 2021
After equalling the 2008 record in 2019 (sixth place in the constructors' championship), Alpha Tauri now cares even more. With limited resources, Red Bull Racing's satellite team has always managed to hold its own in Formula 1. In 2021, Pierre Gasly won the Italian Grand Prix.
The collaboration with Red Bull is working positively for Alpha Tauri and the Honda engine, which is getting better and better, makes the team less vulnerable on the straights. We'll see how the team perform in their second year under the AlphaTauri name.
Like Red Bull's big team, Alpha Tauri will use Honda's latest engine in 2021. The Honda RA615H was already a huge step forward in 2020 and the latest specification for 2021 should hopefully take both teams to an even higher level.
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