Saturday, 10 December 2011

Team Season Review: Toro Rosso

Both drivers impressed and battled hard, but it wasn't enough for either to keep their seats.
Drivers: Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari
Best Finish: 7th (Italy, Korea)
Best Qualifying Result: 6th (Belgium)
Points: 41
Constructor's Championship: 8th

After 2010's relative disaster, a much improved season for the Italian team. Their middle and end of season was exceptional, and at times they were the fifth fastest car. Both drivers peaked at different times, while the horrors of 2010 were dispatched as their car was far more competitive, and their drivers performing well. They were quite unlucky to finish eighth in the championship, and could well have finished sixth if they had had a better start to 2011. And that's what let them down: just three points in the first five races when rivals Force India and Sauber had scored four and nine points. However, they came into their own in the middle of the season, scoring points in Monaco, Canada, Europe and Britain, four consecutive races. Alguersuari came from 18th to 8th in Europe and Canada, while Toro Rosso's best race was yet to come, in Korea. Their straight line speed was excellent, and they finished a fantastic seventh and ninth. There were mass celebrations in the garage at India, when both cars made it into Q3. A disappointing final two races meant they lost out to Sauber in the battle for seventh, but a great season for the Faenza based team. We now await their 2012 line up, possibly the most hotly anticipated one.

Best Finish: 8th (Australia, Hungary)
Points: 15
Driver's Championship: 15th


Buemi in Valencia, where he didn't finish
After being the team leader at Toro Rosso for the last two seasons, we expected that to be the case again in 2011. It looked like it was going that way when he finished an excellent eighth in the opener, Melbourne. Two points paying results at Turkey and Monaco further enforced this, with the Swiss man driving cool and controlled races. Buemi scored a point at Canada, but this is where he started getting beat by Alguersuari. He didn't finish in Europe or Britain, and stupidly put Heidfeld out of the race in Germany, earning him a five-place grid penalty for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Despite the penalty, he came out on top in his battle with Alguersuari, finishing in eighth. Buemi scored in Italy and Korea, but mechanical failures meant he didn't finish India or Abu Dhabi. His twelfth in Brazil finished a season which started with so much promise, but could well be his last one with Toro Rosso.

Best Finish: 7th (Italy, Korea)
Points: 26
Driver's Championship: 14th

Alguersuari's fantastic drive to seventh in Korea
At the start of the season, Alguersuari was very disappointing and many thought he would be sacked, but he picked his performances up later in the year. No points in the first six, including a crash at Monaco, meant the pressure was piling on Alguersuari for results. Many expected him to be swiftly sacked after qualifying eighteenth at Canada, but he produced an excellent drive to take eighth. Alguersuari then pulled out one of the best drives of his career, again coming from eighteenth to eighth in Valencia. Silverstone saw another point from eighteenth, before a tenth place in Hungary. Italy was a fantastic race for Alguersuari, finishing in a very strong seventh place, which at that point was the highest result of his career. Alguersuari crashed in Singapore and was out of the points in Japan, but the Spaniard was back in Korea. After qualifying eleventh, he drove a phenomenal race, making the very most of his car's great straight line speed, and passing Nico Rosberg on the last lap to take seventh place. An eighth in India after starting an impressive ninth was the last points of 2011 for Alguersuari, in a season he should be very happy with.

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