Like Mercedes, Sauber and Renault before them, the first test of the year at Valencia saw Scuderia Toro Rosso take the wraps off their 2010 challenger, the STR5. The car represents a first for the former Minardi team, as the STR5 is the first chassis to be designed and built by the team. Scuderia Toro Rosso previously used a similar chassis to that of parent team Red Bull Racing, the rules allowing this to happen. However, with a change in the regulations comes a change in the car. Or so we all thought…
Scuderia Toro Rosso have had to increase their workforce ahead of 2010 to accommodate the fact that they are designing and building the car themselves, and this, we all presumed, would result in something a little different. Unusually though, the new car looks strikingly similar to the RB6, including all the little details that have made Adrian Newey – the designer of many championship winning cars over the years – a well-respected car designer.
So similar are the two cars in fact, that the studio photos released by the teams seem to have intentionally shown the cars from different angles. Not that I am in any way cynical, mind. But aside from the fact that the two machines bear an uncanny resemblance, the STR5 does look to be an interesting car. Of course, the RB5 was generally regarded as one of the best chassis in 2009, if not the best over the course of the whole year. The car sports a revised front wing and nose, sidepods and shark-fin engine cover.
The livery has seen a minor make-over, the first in quite some time. The front of the STR5 has more red on it, with flowing gold lines stretching over the moncoque and around the cockpit. The red bull maintains his place on the engine cover, as does the Red Bull Cola sponsorship. Again though, Scuderia Toro Rosso are relying on funding from the parent company, as very few other sponsors can be seen adorning the car.
Scuderia Toro Rosso have retained their driver pairing for another year, partnering Sebastien Buemi with Jaime Alguersuari. Buemi did quite well in 2009 and certainly performed better than I was expecting. Collecting points in his first race (albeit thanks to Lewis Hamilton) and also picking up a few more in China, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, the young Swiss pilot deserved to keep his seat at the Red Bull junior team.
Jaime Alguersuari too did reasonably well when you consider he joined the team partway through the year and had previously never driven a Formula One car around a circuit. Although points failed to come his way, and only three race finishes are marked on his record from eight attempts, the fact the Spaniard didn’t do anything particularly outrageous is impressive unto itself.
It will be interesting to see how the
RB STR5 stacks up against its rivals, and whether the young driver pairing can be mature enough to become solid and reliable racers. The chassis, if indeed different to Red Bull’s, will have to be developed differently and this in itself will present many challenges to the team. The engine is solid though, the Ferrari 056 proving reliable and worthy of winning races. I think the Faenza-based team are going to have their work cut out though if they want to beat rival team Force India. Instead, I fear Scuderia Toro Rosso are going to be charging around with the newcomers to the sport.
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s car designation system refers to the initials of the team name, STR, and an incremental numbering system that for 2010, has reached 5. Hence, STR5.