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. Sunday 25 June 2017

  2. Castroneves wins 50th career pole 01:45

    Castroneves wins 50th career pole

    Hélio Castroneves captured the 50th pole of his long IndyCar career on Saturday in qualifying at Road America. The Brazilian…

    Indy
  3. Saturday 24 June 2017

  4. Video: Bizarre WTCC crash into fire truck 17:44

    Video: Bizarre WTCC crash into fire truck

    Tom Coronel crashes into a fire truck at the Portuguese round of the World Touring Car Championship.

    Misc
  5. Rowland demoted to seventh after penalty 17:06

    Rowland demoted to seventh after penalty

    DAMS driver Oliver Rowland has been handed a time penalty after he failed to slow sufficiently for yellow flags during the…

    F2
  6. 17:02

    Latest Formula 1 photos: Saturday in Baku

    F1
  7. Stroll: Set-up key to improved Baku display 16:50

    Stroll: Set-up key to improved Baku display

    Williams rookie Lance Stroll says that reverting to an older set-up is one of the main reasons behind his so far confident…

    F1
  8. Alonso: Rivals think we're on slow-down laps 16:49

    Alonso: Rivals think we're on slow-down laps

    Fernando Alonso believes McLaren-Honda's speed deficit is so pronounced that his rivals think he is on a slow lap when he is…

    F1
  9. Verstappen: P3 possible without problems 16:03

    Verstappen: P3 possible without problems

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen reckons technical glitches cost him third on the grid for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, describing a…

    F1
  10. Vettel: 'No excuses' over worst 2017 Q3 15:51

    Vettel: 'No excuses' over worst 2017 Q3

    Championship leader Sebastian Vettel accepts there are "no excuses" over his worst qualifying result of the campaign, though…

    F1
  11. Hamilton: Last gasp effort 'all or nothing' 15:32

    Hamilton: Last gasp effort 'all or nothing'

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton described his pole position lap as an "all or nothing" effort as he overhauled team-mate Valtteri…

    F1
  12. 15:15

    In full: Azerbaijan GP qualifying results

    F1
  13. Hamilton beats Bottas to Azerbaijan pole 15:14

    Hamilton beats Bottas to Azerbaijan pole

    Lewis Hamilton delivered another stunning qualifying performance to claim pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, ahead of…

    F1
  14. 14:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Assen

    MotoGP
  15. Zarco edges Márquez for maiden pole 13:58

    Zarco edges Márquez for maiden pole

    Tech 3 rookie Johann Zarco claimed his maiden MotoGP pole position during a wet qualifying session for the Dutch Grand Prix at…

    MotoGP
  16. Palmer out of qualifying after practice fire 13:56

    Palmer out of qualifying after practice fire

    Jolyon Palmer has been ruled out of qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Palmer ground to a halt early in final…

    F1
  17. 13:42

    Follow qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP!

    F1
  18. 12:08

    Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    F1
  19. Bottas on top, Vettel, Verstappen hit trouble 12:04

    Bottas on top, Vettel, Verstappen hit trouble

    Valtteri Bottas set the pace during Saturday's final practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen…

    F1
  20. 11:10

    Latest Formula 2 photos: Saturday at Baku

    F2
  21. Leclerc extends lead with commanding win 11:09

    Leclerc extends lead with commanding win

    Prema' Charles Leclerc took his third win of the Formula 2 season in the Baku Feature Race to extend his championship lead to 22…

    F2
  22. Mercedes' Russell given Hungary test 10:43

    Mercedes' Russell given Hungary test

    Mercedes protégé George Russell will carry out in-season testing for the manufacturer in Hungary. Russell joined Mercedes…

    F1
  23. 10:43

    Follow final practice for the Azerbaijan GP!

    F1
  24. Alonso's grid penalty now up to 40 places 10:31

    Alonso's grid penalty now up to 40 places

    McLaren-Honda has confirmed that Fernando Alonso's grid penalty for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is now up to 40 places, after…

    F1
  25. Video: Kanaan Visor Cam at Road America 10:16

    Video: Kanaan Visor Cam at Road America

    Ride onboard with Tony Kanaan during IndyCar practice for the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America.

    Indy
  26. Redding tops wet third session at Assen 09:54

    Redding tops wet third session at Assen

    Pramac's Scott Redding clocked the quickest time during a rain-hit third practice session for the Dutch Grand Prix at…

    MotoGP
  27. Kerb shortened at Turn 8 after incidents 09:39

    Kerb shortened at Turn 8 after incidents

    Modifications have been made at and around Turn 8 of the Baku City Circuit after incidents during Friday practice for the…

    F1
  28. Renault's Baku gains worth 0.2s per lap 09:32

    Renault's Baku gains worth 0.2s per lap

    Renault's engine upgrades introduced for this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix have led to a gain of 0.2s per lap, according to…

    F1
  29. Boullier: McLaren/Honda friction exaggerated 08:04

    Boullier: McLaren/Honda friction exaggerated

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says that the "friction" between the team and power unit partner Honda has been…

    F1
  30. Sauber hopes to announce new boss 'soon' 07:12

    Sauber hopes to announce new boss 'soon'

    Sauber should be in a position to announce a new Team Principal "soon", following Monisha Kaltenborn's exit, according to Team…

    F1
  31. Video of the Day: Dixon meets young fan 05:38

    Video of the Day: Dixon meets young fan

    Scott Dixon visits a young fan, called Lucy, who wrote him a letter after his accident at the Indy 500.

    Indy
  32. Friday 23 June 2017

  33. 17:32

    Latest Formula 1 photos: Friday in Baku

    F1
  34. Hamilton says he has 'lots of work to do' 17:23

    Hamilton says he has 'lots of work to do'

    Lewis Hamilton says he and Mercedes have "lots of work to do" following a difficult first day of practice for the Azerbaijan…

    F1
  35. Verstappen describes 'very weird' crash 16:56

    Verstappen describes 'very weird' crash

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has labelled his crash in the closing stages of Friday's second practice session for the…

    F1
  36. Renault rejects Kubica Italy FP1 rumours 16:31

    Renault rejects Kubica Italy FP1 rumours

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul has shot down rumours linking Robert Kubica to a Friday practice outing at September's…

    F1
  37. 16:10

    Latest Formula 2 photos: Friday in Baku

    F2
  38. Leclerc dedicates F2 pole to late father 15:58

    Leclerc dedicates F2 pole to late father

    Formula 2 championship leader Charles Leclerc dedicated his pole position for the Baku Feature Race to his father, Hervé, who…

    F2
  39. 15:36

    Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  40. Verstappen fastest in FP2 before crashing 15:34

    Verstappen fastest in FP2 before crashing

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen again set the pace during second practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, before crashing out at…

    F1
  41. 14:19

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Assen

    MotoGP
  42. Viñales moves ahead in second practice 14:10

    Viñales moves ahead in second practice

    Championship leader Maverick Viñales vaulted to the top of the times during the second practice session for the Dutch Grand…

    MotoGP
  43. 13:44

    Follow second practice for the Azerbaijan GP!

    F1
more news