Franz Tost, Toro Rosso’s Team Principal, turns 55 today. He’s a rare Austrian in Formula One, which makes sense considering he works for Austrian drinks company Red Bull.
When he was younger, Tost used to race in Formula Ford and Formula Three. Later he turned to management, looking after Ralf Schumacher’s career and following him into F1. He worked with BMW trackside until he became TP of new team Toro Rosso.
Toro Rosso came out of Minardi – a long-lasting team with great fans despite a low budget restricting performance. They even scored points in their final season, thanks to the 2005 US Grand Prix. Red Bull were able to buy the team because they met the owner’s conditions of maintaining the Italy base, where they have remained and run under an Italian license.
In 2006, Tonio Liuzzi began his first full season in F1 having previously driven for Red Bull. Scott Speed was the other driver – an unusual American in the sport.
2007 marked a new season as Toro Rosso adopted a new engine. They began with Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed, but later switched the American for a future world champion – Sebastian Vettel. With this lineup, they got the team’s results thus far at the Chinese GP – 4th for Vettel and 6th for Liuzzi.
2008 came, with two similarly-named drivers on the team: Sebastian Vettel remained and Sebastien Bourdais joined him. At Monza, Toro Rosso got their first win with Vettel – who would later get Red Bull’s first win in 2009. It was a fantastic season for Vettel in particular and the best ever for the team. They finished a disappointing sixth, but 10 points ahead of their Red Bull rivals.
2009 brought yet another Sebastien (Toro Rosso like to be confusing) to the team, and Buemi showed himself to be strong while Bourdais was eventually replaced by Jaime Alguersuari. This was the year the Red Bulls really shone, however, and Toro Rosso were being left behind as the drinks company focused on the team with their English name.
In 2010 they started well, though not adopting the F-duct like the other teams caused them a few problems. But Alguersuari’s good drive in Abu Dhabi ahead of Felipe Massa got him two points, and the Spaniard consistently outperformed his team mate by the end.
What lies ahead for Franz Tost? Despite having been up for sale for a couple of years, the team still belongs to Red Bull. Buemi and Alguersuari are starting in the lineup, but there’s a fast Australian just waiting to take first place. There could be good things ahead if we have another Sebastian Vettel waiting in the wings…