F1 2015 team preview: Scuderia Toro Rosso


Scuderia Toro Rosso

No. 33 Max Verstappen
No. 55 Carlos Sainz Jr.

First Race: 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix
Grands Prix: 166
Pole Positions: 
Fastest Laps: 
Race Wins: 
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.


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.


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.

Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance
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LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).