Toro Rosso is Red Bull’s B-team, and normally operates as a finishing school for the brand’s junior drivers. But this year it also functioned as a testbed for Honda, ahead of its partnership with Red Bull Racing in 2019.
SOUNDBITE (English) FRANZ TOST,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, TORO ROSSO:
“We built up a completely new car, with the [all] new power unit from Honda, which is integrated quite well with a really good cooperation with Honda.”
Behind the wheel, Red Bull protege Pierre Gasly and former junior team member Brendon Hartley; both getting races in the car at the end of 2017 to get up to speed for a first full season.
SOUNDBITE: (English) BRENDON HARTLEY,
F1 DRIVER 2018, TORO ROSSO:
“A massive opportunity for me and, yeah, looking forward to taking a full crack at a Formula One season. I think these four races for me were, very important to start off a full Formula One campaign."
But Hartley’s two World Endurance Championship titles didn’t help him stand out…
… with Gasly getting the plaudits, despatching the New Zealander 15-6 in qualifying and 7-4 in races, when they could be compared. He also scored 25 more points… a huge gap for a midfield team.
In spite of its results, Toro Rosso only finished ninth in the standings, care of 10 DNFs – and more power unit components used than any other team.
Both cars used eight engines, turbochargers and MGU-Hs, five more than the three allocated. It also went over the two allocated MGU-Ks, energy stores and control electronics.
All that development should hold the squad in good stead next year, with Toro Rosso enjoying shared works status – with Red Bull Racing.
It’s all-change on its driver line-up, though, with Daniil Kvyat returning for the third time since 2014, the Russian having plenty to prove - and paired with Formula 2 young gun Alexander Albon.