Here is another episode of our Formula 1 halftime analysis. This time we will have a look at Toro Rosso-Honda. The little bull team already took its first podium finish this season.
As always, Helmut Marko’s announcement was blunt and straight forward: “Toro Rosso should now be able to finish fifth or sixth in the constructors ‘championship, which would mean a jump in prize money…”
After only twelve races Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost (63) can report that the Red Bull junior team has already fulfilled the requirements set by his superior. With 43 points the team based in Italy (Faenza) has taken fifth place in the constructors’ championship.
One race, in particular, contributed to this positive result – the chaos race in Hockenheim. There, both Toro Rosso pilots demonstrated what they are worth. The Russian Daniil Kvyat (25) was third on the podium and teammate Alexander Albon (23) achieved a strong sixth place.
In terms of championship points, Toro Rosso gained 23 points in Germany alone, more than half all points gained in all the other eleven races.
For Tost, it was no coincidence and he praised both his pilots: “Kvyat has come back to us much stronger. He has matured.”
Recall that the Russian was already sent into exile after fluctuating performances at the end of 2017. During his absence, he joined Ferrari as a simulator driver in 2018 and was finally invited back to Toro Rosso this season.
Helmut Marko added: “Kvyat is even reading Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, showing what positive mental attitude he has now.”
Teammate Albon, who did his debut season this year, also received a lot of praise: “He’s one of the best debutantes I’ve ever experienced.”
For the second half of the season, however, Tost must forgo on the service of Britain born with Thai roots. In a shock announcement before the summer break, Red Bull replaced Pierre Gasly with Alexander Albon. It will be his chance to prove his worth alongside Max Verstappen.
Pierre Gasly, on the other hand, who got crushed by Verstappen will now return to Toro Rosso to regain his self-confidence. The Frenchman is no stranger to Toro Rosso. In 2018 he showed such a good performance there that he got the seat at Red Bull in the first place.
Clear Management Structures
Tost is well aware of his role at the small branch of Red Bull. In principle, he may decide the day-to-day operations and what happens at the junior team of the Austrian drink giant.
But for big strategic issues, he has to execute the decisions of Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz and his chief advisor Helmut Marko.
For example, who drives at Toro Rosso or on matters of strategic orientation the two Austrians make the decisions.
Tost “Red Bull is at the top when it comes to what we do and we don’t even have to discuss it because that’s part of our philosophy. We’re still in a strong position with our driver pairing.” The mission for Tost and his team this year is clear – to defend the fifth place in the constructors’ championship.
Marko: “In 2018 they still had to prepare our project with Honda for 2019. Both Honda and Toro Rosso did a good job, but one can say that they could have gained more points if they had thought about themselves a bit more. In a sense, they sacrificed something for the big goal.”
These sacrifices are now bearing fruits, as Red Bull is rewarding the team this year. Since the beginning of the season, Toro Rosso has been working more intensively with the main Red Bull team.
For this closer cooperation, the Haas F1 team has served as an example. They get not only the entire powertrain from partner Ferrari but also other parts.
Who will drive next season at Toro Rosso, is still open. If Albon proves himself at Red Bull, he will keep his seat there. If not, Kvyat could trade with him.
A possible candidate for Toro Rosso is also the Austrian Lucas Auer (24). He is the nephew of ex-Formula 1 star Gerhard Berger. Right now he drives for Red Bull in Japan – Formula Nippon. This series is considered to be a good stepping stone for the premier class of motorsports.
COMPARISON KVYAT vs. ALBON
Average faster in Q l: -0.032s
Race comparison: 7-5
Average Team Points: Kvyat 63%, Albon 37%
*This article was first published in German at autobild.de/motorsport.