2010 marked the split in association between Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso under the Red Bull Technology banner as the rules stated that Toro Rosso must design and build their own car.
They started with a strong base, as their 2009 SRT4 was effectively a Red Bull RB5, but a lot of work was needed in Faenza to adapt the car to the 2010 regulations and the ban on refuelling, as well as designing a double diffuser.
The STR5 struggled for pace all through the year. With very limited resources compared to their sister team they were unable to full develop the car. An increase in staff numbers over the winter was required, but the team is still running out of the old Minardi factory.
Developments did slowly come, Toro Rosso did bring their version of the Exhaust Blown Diffuser online, but they had problems with their ‘f’-duct concept. This was evaluated in a number of practice sessions towards the end of the season, but was never raced.
Driver line up stays the same in 2011; Sebastian Buemi continues to be partnered by Jaime Alguersuari. Both are fairly equal in there performances, and would regularly make it through to the second qualifying session, but there were times when one of the drivers would be eliminated in Q1. Points did come for both drivers, but these were at the lower end of the top 10 and they have never troubled the top of the field.
2011 will mean another year for the team to work on the design of the car with the resources they have. Reports that they are up for sale means uncertainty over their future, but rumours that any potential new owners must keep the team in Faenza may be a deterrent for anyone wishing to purchase the team.
The STR6 will once again be Ferrari powered and in 2011 they will be also using KERS, provided by Ferrari. This will be a strong system, but the addition of KERS means a lot of work for a team that is no doubt already stretched with their resources to design an effective package for the car.
Toro Rosso must aim to close the gap to the likes of Force India and Sauber. With a good car, racing with Williams and Renault may be possible, but the team must show signs of improvement to avoid being caught by the three new teams and be left behind.
The Swiss driver had a decent season without really excelling in 2010. A handful of points finishes with a best finish of 8th in Canada is all that he was able to show from the year. One highlight was the suspension failure he suffered on Friday morning at the Chinese Grand Prix, when coming down the long back straight, both front wheels ripped themselves clear of the car before it came to a rest alongside the barriers.
Often finishing just outside the top 10, Buemi has shown improvements in his driving compared to 2009, and is solidly capable of running in the middle of the pack, mostly outside the top 10 though. Buemi’s pace was eclipsed by his team mate towards the end of the year.
For 2011, Buemi needs to continue to improve and try to fight to get into the top 10. Still part of the Red Bull family, he will be aware that there could be a drive at Red Bull Racing available in 2012, so he needs to show that he is the one who deserves any potential drive for the current World Champions.
The young Spaniard started the season with a full test program in the winter, having raced in a handful of races towards the end of 2009 without any previous Formula 1 running. He acquitted himself well after concerns over running someone without any previous experience and kept the drive with the team in 2010.
Alguersuari showed a lot of improvements during the course of the 2010 season, holding off 7 times World Champion Michael Schumacher at the Australian Grand Prix impressed many. With more time in the car, he was able to show good progress.
Two points finishes through the year is all that Jaime has to show for the season, but consistently finishing races, with only 2 non-finishes (both due to mechanical problems) means that the Spaniard has shown signs of promise in his 1st full season of Formula 1.
For 2011, he will want to be ahead of his team mate on a regular basis, and try to better his points tally from last year. Both drivers at Toro Rosso are under pressure, with Red Bull’s young driver Daniel Ricciardo taking the third driver slot at Toro Rosso in 2011, and taking part in Friday practice sessions after impressing in the 2010 post season young driver test (lapping the Abu Dhabi circuit faster than Sebastian Vettel’s pole time). Buemi and Alguersuari know that if they are unable to show big improvements in 2011, they may miss their chance to graduate up to race for Red Bull Racing.