While Toro Rosso began the season with much chest pounding that they were aiming for 6th place in the constructors it was not to be, however after many years seemingly without purpose arguably they have fulfilled it this year. The team made aggressive hiring over the close season with the recruitment of Sauber’s technical director, James Key, however the car still was at the rear of the midfield battle. However it was still capable of being squeezed into Q3 by Daniel Ricciardo on a few occasions. Furthermore the team increased their points total from 2012 and moved up one place in the constructors, although much of that was down to Williams failures than their success.
Retaining their driver line-up from the previous season the car struggled with the fragile early season Pirelli’s and the pairing went relatively unnoticed until Mark Webber announced that he was retiring from the senior Red Bull team at the end of the year. This meant there was an opportunity to move to the World Champions over in Milton Keynes and it was Daniel Ricciardo who delivered enough to be selected, mostly on his raw pace showings on Saturdays.
His team mate who will be retained alongside GP3 champion Danill Kyvat still struggles come Saturday and needs to sort out this flaw if he has ambitions of greater things, however for now Toro Rosso have produced their second Red Bull driver. There were factions inside the Red Bull organisation that wished to see Kimi Raikkonen in the team but they were drowned out in favour of using a current driver.
Interestingly the team have cut back their young driver program to only 3 drivers for the coming year alongside the two drivers in Toro Rosso. Depending on how well Ricciardo does it could be a long time before STR are required to blood any more serious contenders. Weirdly with the team so far away from the main team its difficult to use it train staff, while a switch to Renault power trains next year will allow them to borrow more Red Bull technology they still have develop a large portion themselves. Furthermore in 2014 we will see the return of in-season testing so the arguments for running two separate F1 teams is growing weaker by the minute.