Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Engine Blood Team Profile: Toro Rosso-Ferrari

ESTABLISHED: 1985 if you count Minardi; 2005 if you don't.

HISTORY: After twenty years of intense, unrewarding struggle, most of which seemed to involve Pierluigi Martini, they were bought from Aussie bauble Paul Stoddart by Red Bull, whose Manchester City-esque tactic of the time seemed to be buying everything in sight to ensure a lack of competition, whereas all they actually had to do was replace Coulthard with Vettel - but not before the German brought Toro Rosso an emotional first and so far only victory at a sodden Monza in 2008.  More recently, sacked two perfectly good drivers for no apparent reason...

18. Jean-Eric VERGNE (FRA)
19. Daniel RICCIARDO (AUS)

...Which may well be the fate of at least one of these lads if they don't buck their ideas up.  By the way, does this seem unfair to anyone else: giving someone a godawful car and then saying "because you didn't do very well, we won't give you a chance to drive a better one"?  Am I being too simple here?

Anyway, it's year two with "who?" and "wha?" - one wouldn't look of place on Easter Island and the other is Jean-Eric Vergne, whoever that is.  Vergne and Ricciardo practically owned 8th and 9th place respectively, but it was hard to compare the two due to contrasting styles; Ricciardo was much smoother, with Vergne the shuntier and with less finishes, so it could be a bit surprising to find out what you're about to find out if you read a bit further on.

2012 PERFORMANCE: 9th place, 26 points.

Jean-Eric VERGNE (FRA): 17th, 16 points. Best finish: 8th, Malaysia, Belgium, Korea and Brazil
Daniel RICCIARDO (AUS): 18th, 10 points. Best finish: 9th, Malaysia, Belgium, Singapore and Korea

A good start last year as they put the cat amongst the pigeons in the first couple of races before fading very, very badly and getting swamped by the midfield.  A strong finish, particularly from what's-his-face (rather than "mummy, why's his face like that?") was sadly inconsequential as the rest of the grid had stolen a march on them.  Apart from the obvious.  Obviously.

So far, so good, but possibly not good enough for their paymasters - ask Scott Speed how things turned out for him.  But hey!  Take away Williams' win and...  No, they still would have been ahead.  Oh well, we did try.  Their sackings won't be on our heads.

2013 PROSPECTS: Always hard to tell, though they can generally only manage to be good at either both the very start and very end of the season or right in the middle, so if Ricciardo gets a podium in Australia, don't expect to see them again until Brazil.

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