Scuderia Toro Rosso
No. 33 Max Verstappen
No. 55 Carlos Sainz Jr.
First Race: 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix
Grands Prix: 166
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 0
Race Wins: 1
Best Constructors’ Championship Finish: 6th (2008)
2014 Championship Result: 7th (30 points)
2014 was something of a funny year for Toro Rosso. Neither Jean-Eric Vergne nor Daniil Kvyat were overly good or bad, and the limitations of the car meant that it would always be the ‘best of the rest’ following Force India, with a huge points gap of 125 point between the teams in sixth and seventh. Kvyat did enough to win himself a place at Red Bull in 2015 as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement, allowing Carlos Sainz Jr. to move into F1. Vergne was ousted out in favor of 17-year-old Max Verstappen, and has since found refuge at Ferrari in a reserve role.
With a combined age of 37, Verstappen and Sainz make up the most inexperienced driver line-up in the history of F1, and both have many questions to answer in 2015. Verstappen certainly appears to have plenty of potential, but quite whether it is enough to warrant such a rapid rise into F1 remains to be seen. Toro Rosso’s existence has revolved around the cultivation of future Red Bull drivers. Now that its parent team has two young and talented drivers already on its books, the purpose of Toro Rosso may need to change. Verstappen and Sainz will be doing all that they can to light the fire under Ricciardo and Kvyat in 2015, though.
MAX VERSTAPPEN No. 33
At 17, Verstappen’s ascension into an F1 seat has gained a great deal of attention. There has been a mix of positivity – tipping him as the next best thing – and negativity – tipping him as a safety risk – but the Dutchman has taken it in his stride. He remains amazingly relaxed about making his F1 debut alongside the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, both of whom raced with his father, Jos. Age is just a number, though, and Max has the makings of something very special indeed.
CARLOS SAINZ JR. No. 55
Sainz Jr. is an interesting prospect for his rookie year. The Spaniard has had a couple incidents during testing, but he’s still banked a great number of laps over the three testing periods. The World Series by Renault champion moves up as the less heralded driver of Toro Rosso’s freshman phenoms, but should still impress at certain moments throughout the year. At 20, he’s a full three years older than teammate Max Verstappen, which seems almost impossible to fathom.