F1 2015 team preview: Scuderia Toro Rosso

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Scuderia Toro Rosso

Drivers
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.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III