F1 2016 Team Preview: Toro Rosso

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Having lived in the shadow of Red Bull as the ‘B’ team for many years, last year Toro Rosso arguably had its strongest season since Sebastian Vettel raced for it in 2008.

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. may have forged the youngest driver pairing in the history of Formula 1, but both proved themselves to be more than capable of racing at the highest level. At just 18 years old, Verstappen’s debut campaign was of particular note.

Change is on the horizon for 2016 with Ferrari joining as a power unit supplier. Can Toro Rosso upset its parent team this year? Or will it be another season of subservience in the midfield?

TEAM: Scuderia Toro Rosso
ENGINE: Ferrari
CAR: Toro Rosso STR11

2015 STATS

Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 67
Laps Led: 0
Drivers’ Championship Positions: 12th (Max Verstappen); 15th (Carlos Sainz Jr.)
Constructors’ Championship Position: 7th

2016 LINE-UP

33. Max Verstappen (NED)
55. Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP)

2015 TEAM RECAP

Despite the struggles with its Renault power unit and the relative inexperience of Verstappen and Sainz, Toro Rosso enjoyed a hugely successful season in 2015. The team may have failed to hit Franz Tost’s pre-season target of fifth in the constructors’ championship, but it was a firm part of the midfield throughout the year. Highlights came in Hungary and the USA where Verstappen finished fourth, taking advantage of two crazy races, while Sainz was impressive throughout the year, even if his final points haul was dampened by some bad luck. 2015 was the best season for Toro Rosso since Vettel’s breakout year with the team in 2008 – a tough act to follow.

2016 OUTLOOK

After making a late switch to the 2015-spec Ferrari power unit for 2016, even making it to the first test was a big achievement for Toro Rosso. That both Sainz and Verstappen were able to lay down some serious mileage with good pace is a very positive sign for the season ahead. Although there will be no updates to the Ferrari engine throughout the season, if the team can pick up some big results early on, then it could yet be another breakthrough year. Verstappen will be aiming to build on his incredible debut campaign, while for Sainz, 2016 is about proving he is just as capable as his junior teammate. A big year awaits all at Toro Rosso.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.