Formula 1 mid-season review: Toro Rosso

Formula 1 mid-season review: Toro Rosso

10 August 2014 – As the Formula 1 fraternity enjoys the summer break, GPUpdate.net takes the opportunity to analyse team and driver performances over the first 11 rounds of the 2014 season. In the latest instalment, Toro Rosso goes under the spotlight, along with the continuing Jean-Éric Vergne and Formula 1 newcomer Daniil Kvyat.

Toro Rosso: 6/10

Toro Rosso has had a mixed season, with the potential of the STR9 ultimately masked by reliability issues. It was one of the cars to suffer a woeful pre-season period, with Jerez essentially a write-off and the other tests not much to write home about either. Yet in the low grip conditions in Australia both drivers thrived and collected a top 10 finish for the team. Since then, the pace of the car has been sufficient for drivers Jean-Éric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat to regularly finish in the points and beat the Lotus and Sauber pair – but that's if they can make the chequered flag. Out of 22 starts for the STR9, it has failed to make the distance on nine other occasions, with problems also hindering the drivers in some of the races it completed. In addition, the team has made a few errors, with a loose wheel in Spain and an unsafe release in Monaco costing Vergne potential points – but again, the car failed. They've only amassed 17 points so far this season, but with other rivals struggling, seventh place would nonetheless merit a good year's work for Toro Rosso – if they can pull off a trouble-free weekend, a strong result to boot may follow.

Jean-Éric Vergne: 7.5/10

This is Vergne's third season in the sport and with the Red Bull programme notoriously fickle, it's time for the Frenchman to kick on. He has improved and shown flashes of speed, but sadly his performances have been frequently masked by the reliability issues of the STR9. He shot out of the blocks in Australia, but his top 10 grid slot in Malaysia was wasted by power unit problems at the start. Perennially strong in low grip conditions, Vergne excelled in Monaco and Canada, although he was unable to collect a strong result due to an exhaust failure on Monte-Carlo's streets. Low grip conditions came to his aid again in Hungary in which he ran an impressive second – and did not look out of his depth – before regressing to the mean performance of the car. There have been errors, with several first lap collisions costing him points, but this has been Vergne's most assured year yet – his mental strength, too, is vastly improved, as he coped well with adversity earlier in the season (he never sought to solely blame bad luck for his form), whereas in 2013 he crumbled. Daniel Ricciardo's performances for Red Bull perhaps paint Vergne in a different light after their two years together – in which they were frequently closely matched – although Vergne still has improvements to make, especially in hot conditions and in qualifying. But with no seat at Red Bull, the form of Daniil Kvyat and other youngsters waiting in the wings, can Vergne survive another year?

Daniil Kvyat: 8/10

There were gasps when Red Bull overlooked António Félix da Costa in favour of Daniil Kvyat but the Russian has taken Formula 1 in his stride and made the transition from GP3 with professional ease. Still only 19 at the time of his debut, his maturity belied his years as he brushed aside a lack of pre-season testing and romped to Q3 and points. He isn't overawed by the bright lights of Formula 1 and it shows on track. Tail-happy moments are a trait of the sport's current era yet Kvyat has dealt with these easily. There have been several times this year, one at Silverstone stands out, where Kvyat's STR9 had snapped sideways and seemingly headed for the nearest run-off or tyre wall. Yet he's saved the slide as if he's piloting a World Rally Car through the Finnish forests, such is his outstanding car control. He's ticked all the boxes for a rookie, with the highlight being his performance in Austria – seventh on the grid while others struggled – until the car failed. The only true moment of clumsiness was misjudging the gap in his passing attempt on Sergio Pérez in Germany. This has been an assured debut season so far, albeit at times restricted by his car's unreliability. That he's only scored points once across the last seven races doesn't tell the full story – beating Vergne should be his aim for the remainder of the year, especially with Toro Rosso marooned in no-man's land championship-wise.

Do you agree with GPUpdate.net's ratings? Join in the discussion via the Facebook panel below

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Friday 31 October 2014

  2. Hernández gets further Ducati support for 2015 12:11

    Hernández gets further Ducati support for 2015

    Yonny Hernández will continue with Pramac Racing in 2015 after Ducati confirmed that the Colombian has taken on an enhanced...

    MotoGP
  3. FR3.5 exploring 18-inch tyres for 2016 10:43

    FR3.5 exploring 18-inch tyres for 2016

    Renault Sport has revealed that its principal junior championship - the Formula Renault 3.5 Series - is evaluating a switch...

    FR 3.5
  4. Verstappen would prefer Vergne as team-mate 10:01

    Verstappen would prefer Vergne as team-mate

    Max Verstappen says he would like to have Jean-Éric Vergne as his team-mate when he makes his Formula 1 debut with Toro...

    F1
  5. Kaltenborn 'disturbed' by plight of F1 09:52

    Kaltenborn 'disturbed' by plight of F1

    Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn says she is 'disturbed' that Formula 1 was unable to take measures to prevent two...

    F1
  6. Video of the Day: Hamilton's Austin track guide 09:03

    Video of the Day: Hamilton's Austin track guide

    Join Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton for a virtual lap at the Circuit of The Americas.

    F1
  7. Räikkönen sure Ferrari can make 'big leap' 08:55

    Räikkönen sure Ferrari can make 'big leap'

    Kimi Räikkönen says he is sure that Ferrari will make a 'big leap' forwards next year after enduring a troublesome 2014 c...

    F1
  8. Thursday 30 October 2014

  9. 21:32

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday in Austin

    F1
  10. Qualifying revised due to smaller field 21:31

    Qualifying revised due to smaller field

    Formula 1 will adopt a revised qualifying format for this weekend's United States Grand Prix, due to the absence of the...

    F1
  11. Alonso excited by 'very ambitious' plan 19:44

    Alonso excited by 'very ambitious' plan

    Fernando Alonso remained coy over his future ahead of the United States Grand Prix, describing his plans for 2015 and beyond...

    F1
  12. Button to take five-place gearbox penalty 17:58

    Button to take five-place gearbox penalty

    Jenson Button will take a gearbox penalty at this weekend's United States Grand Prix. Under Formula 1's current...

    F1
  13. Vergne says he is 'best option' for Toro Rosso 17:45

    Vergne says he is 'best option' for Toro Rosso

    Jean-Éric Vergne reckons he is the "best option" out of the drivers vying to race alongside Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso...

    F1
  14. Drivers open to three-car F1 teams 17:12

    Drivers open to three-car F1 teams

    Formula 1 drivers say they are open to being a part of three-car teams, as the debate over grid size continues. With...

    F1
  15. Domenicali to start work at Audi this week 15:28

    Domenicali to start work at Audi this week

    Stefano Domenicali will begin work at Audi on November 1, the German manufacturer has confirmed to...

    Misc
  16. IndyCar announces 2015 calendar 14:51

    IndyCar announces 2015 calendar

    IndyCar officials presented a 17-race calendar for the 2015 season on Thursday. As previously confirmed, the campaign...

    Indy
  17. Family: Bianchi remains critical but stable 14:23

    Family: Bianchi remains critical but stable

    Jules Bianchi remains in a critical but stable condition at the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi following his...

    F1
  18. Vettel: Red Bull blocked early release 13:32

    Vettel: Red Bull blocked early release

    Quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel has confirmed that Red Bull has prevented him from exiting his contract early...

    F1
  19. Video: Haas F1 factory build time-lapse 11:14

    Video: Haas F1 factory build time-lapse

    Relive the 339-day construction of Haas F1 Team's new facility in Kannapolis in this time-lapse video.

    F1
  20. 10:32

    MotoGP photos: Stoner in action at Motegi

    MotoGP
  21. Stoner describes 'very positive' Motegi test 10:31

    Stoner describes 'very positive' Motegi test

    Casey Stoner has described his two-day test with Honda's 2015 bike at Motegi as "very positive". The two-time MotoGP...

    MotoGP
  22. 09:56

    F1 photos: Ocon tests F10 at Fiorano

    F1
  23. Ferrari praises Ocon after F1 test 09:51

    Ferrari praises Ocon after F1 test

    Ferrari has heaped praise on Esteban Ocon after the French teenager's prize Formula 1 test at Fiorano on Wednesday. Ocon,...

    F1
  24. Warwick confirmed as Austin steward 08:59

    Warwick confirmed as Austin steward

    Derek Warwick has been confirmed as the FIA's driver representative steward for this weekend's United States Grand...

    F1
  25. USGP memories: Hamilton wins, 2012 05:02

    USGP memories: Hamilton wins, 2012

    Relive the inaugural USGP at the Circuit of The Americas, where Lewis Hamilton overcame Sebastian Vettel.

    F1
  26. Wednesday 29 October 2014

  27. Hawksworth joins Sato at Foyt for 2015 20:02

    Hawksworth joins Sato at Foyt for 2015

    British driver Jack Hawksworth will join Takuma Sato at AJ Foyt Racing in IndyCar next season as the squad expands to a...

    Indy
  28. Vettel set to sit out qualifying for USGP 18:00

    Vettel set to sit out qualifying for USGP

    Sebastian Vettel says he will probably sit out qualifying for the United States Grand Prix as Red Bull is likely to make a...

    F1
  29. Mercedes awarded the Dewar Trophy 14:18

    Mercedes awarded the Dewar Trophy

    Mercedes has been awarded the Dewar Trophy for producing the best power unit under Formula 1's new technical...

    F1
  30. Video: Pirelli's guide to the United States GP 13:30

    Video: Pirelli's guide to the United States GP

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli previews this weekend's United States Grand Prix.

    F1
  31. Stoner begins test with 2015 Honda 11:48

    Stoner begins test with 2015 Honda

    Double MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner has commenced a two-day test with the 2015 Honda RC213V at Twin Ring Motegi in...

    MotoGP
  32. Fernandes says big teams as much at fault 11:10

    Fernandes says big teams as much at fault

    Tony Fernandes says Formula 1 needs to examine itself in the wake of the collapse of the Caterham and Marussia...

    F1
  33. Bottas targeting podium finish in Austin 10:23

    Bottas targeting podium finish in Austin

    Valtteri Bottas is hoping to secure his sixth podium of the season at the United States Grand Prix. The Williams driver...

    F1
  34. Prost: Renault will find it hard to catch Mercedes 09:54

    Prost: Renault will find it hard to catch Mercedes

    Four-time World Champion Alain Prost believes that Renault will find it "hard" to reduce its power unit deficit to rivals...

    F1
  35. Mario Andretti's most memorable US races 07:28

    Mario Andretti's most memorable US races

    Austin hosts the United States Grand Prix for a third time this weekend. Ahead of the event, GPUpdate.net asked 1978 F1...

    F1
  36. USGP memories: Battle for the lead, 1977 05:06

    USGP memories: Battle for the lead, 1977

    Relive the lead battle between Jody Scheckter, Mario Andretti and Niki Lauda during the 1977 United States Grand Prix West...

    F1
  37. Tuesday 28 October 2014

  38. Video: Ferrari on the challenge of COTA 16:46

    Video: Ferrari on the challenge of COTA

    Ferrari previews this weekend's United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas.

    F1
  39. Fry says Ferrari needs to improve in 'all areas' 16:13

    Fry says Ferrari needs to improve in 'all areas'

    Ferrari Engineering Director Pat Fry says the team needs to improve in "all areas" with the design of its 2015 Formula 1...

    F1
  40. Ericsson in talks with three teams for 2015 14:30

    Ericsson in talks with three teams for 2015

    Marcus Ericsson's manager, Eje Elgh, has confirmed that he is in talks with three teams regarding a potential race seat for...

    F1
  41. Swiss firm wants helicopter to recover cars 13:06

    Swiss firm wants helicopter to recover cars

    Swiss helicopter firm Air Zermatt has proposed that F1 cars should be recovered by a helicopter, to avoid a repeat of...

    F1
  42. Video: Force India duo look ahead to Austin 11:13

    Video: Force India duo look ahead to Austin

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez look ahead to the United States Grand Prix.

    F1
  43. Parry completes prize McLaren F1 test 09:20

    Parry completes prize McLaren F1 test

    Matt Parry completed his reward for winning the 2013 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award on Monday, getting his first taste of...

    F1
  44. Background: Low grids are nothing new to F1 07:23

    Background: Low grids are nothing new to F1

    This weekend's United States Grand Prix will feature the fewest entrants in almost a decade of Formula 1 competition, with...

    F1
more news