- Founded: 2006
- Based: Faenza, Italy
- World Constructors' Titles: 0
- World Drivers' Titles: 0
- Grand Prix Victories: 1
- Pole Positions: 1
It is impossible to talk about the Faenza-based team without talking about Giancarlo Minardi, the former owner of the team under its previous name, Minardi. Rising up through the ranks of European motor racing, Minardi entered his team in Formula 1 in 1985 and remained for 21 seasons, without ever winning a race or even finishing on the podium. But Minardi was a a classi teamowner who loved racing. The team, in return, was one of the most loved by the fans. It used ingenuity where the budget was wanting, and left the sport in 2005 equalling its highest number of points ever: 7.
Gerhard was one of the strongest racing car drivers of the 1980s and 1990s, when he was a teammate to Ayrton Senna at McLaren. He won 10 races over an 11 year period, but never came close to winning the title. After retirement he joined BMW as sporting director when the company provided engines to the Williams team. But he left the job in 2004. In 2006 he returned to the sport as the director and part owner - with 50 percent - of the Toro Rosso team. At the end of 2008 he sold his shares back to Red Bull and he left F1 again. He said the team would not have the support it needed to do as well in 2009.
A Brief History:
In its first full season under the Toro Rosso name, the team had the advantage of using a reliable 10 cylinder Cosworth engine when all of the other teams had moved to the 8 cyclinder engine. The Cosworth was limited in its power, but proved to be advantageous in certain different circumstances. The team scored one point and finished the championship in ninth position, earning some of the lucrative television rights money set aside for the top 10 teams. By 2008 the team suddenly rose up in strength, winning its first race at the Italian Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel driving to victory from pole position.
Red Bull Connection:
Toro Rosso came into being thanks to the sports program of the Red Bull energy drinks company, which had not only bought the Jaguar team and started its own "Red Bull" team in 2005, but also spent many years funding drivers to help them get to F1. Red Bull found itself with so many drivers that it did not have enough outlets for them at the highest level of the sport. By buying Minardi, the company not only saved one of the most loved teams in the sport, but also provided another team for its Red Bull drivers to rise to the highest level of the sport and continue developing their talent.
In some ways the 2007 is a test season for Toro Rosso. It dropped the 10 cylinder Cosworth engine in favor of a Ferrari engine. It also decided to use a chassis designed by the Red Bull team's technical head, Adrian Newey. It is therefore expected to rise to a higher level than in its first season. Even so, a number of questions hang over the future of the team: just how legal is the chassis in a sport where each team is expected to make its own chassis, and how committed is Gerhard Berger to keeping his two drivers, whom he re-signed at the last minute? How much assistance will Ferrari provide?