Tag Archives: Toro Rosso

Verstappen handed three-place grid penalty

Max Verstappen has been handed a three place grid penalty by stewards after he was deemed to have parked his car in a “potentially dangerous” way when it broke down during qualifying.

The Dutchman lost power coming out of the hairpin in the final seconds of the Q1 session and could not safely park his car out of the way of the oncoming traffic. Yet when stewards investigated the incident, it was found that Verstappen had first tried to park on the left side before crossing the track and attempting to park on the right side – which subsequently left his car parked diagonally across the track.

The stewards judgement read: “Car 33 experienced a sudden power loss at the exit of turn 11. The driver initially moved to the left side of the track towards a safe position and when it was about to stop, moved to the right onto the racing line, where it eventually stopped. This caused double yellow flags to be shown and endangered oncoming drivers.”

The rookie had already set a time which allowed him to progress to Q2 but could not participate, meaning he would start 15th. With the 3 place penalty he will start from 18th.

Jenson Button and Alexander Rossi were two drivers who were particularly affected by Verstappen’s break-down: Button wasn’t told which engine setting to choose before his first timed lap which led to a slow lap and when he tried to set a second timed lap he encountered the yellow flags and had to slow down, meaning he had to abandon the lap which may have seen him progress to Q2. Rossi, who’s racing in his second Grand Prix this weekend, had been affected by an earlier spin by Marcus Ericsson which left him trying to set a single flying lap in the final seconds of qualifying. Having to slow down for Verstappen, the American eventually set a lap outside the 107% rule, meaning he had to persuade the stewards to allow him to start, which they agreed to.

Nico Hulkenberg also took a three-place grid penalty today, dropping from eleventh to fourteenth, for his part in the collision with Felipe Massa at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

You can read my qualifying report here.

Image courtesy of Toro Rosso/Getty Images. 

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Japanese Grand Prix: Sainz Quickest In Rain-Affected FP1

Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz was the fastest man during Friday morning’s practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, marking the first time the Spaniard has topped a session.

The unexpected speed in extremely wet conditions saw him clock a fastest lap over half a second clear of second quickest Daniil Kvyat in the sister Red Bull car. With Mercedes’ surprise lack of pace at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix fresh in their heads, Rosberg and Hamilton recorded third and fifth respectively, with Ferrari’s meddler and Championship contender Sebastian Vettel wedging his way into fourth.

The torrential rain saw limited running from those who ventured on track, with eight drivers – including Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer – deciding to stay in the shelter of their garages. Max Verstappen brought the other Toro Rosso to sixth, over 1.5s shy of team-mate Sainz’s session-topping time. Kimi Raikkonen took the second Ferrari to seventh while Williams’ Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas coasted to eighth and tenth, and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr placed ninth and eleventh. The slowest driver to clock a lap was McLaren’s Jenson Button with a lap over six seconds slower than that of Sainz’s effort.

The order of practice cannot give too much scope to how Qualifying might play out. The conditions were far too heavy to even set a time for most of the session, and the latter part of the running saw drivers tip-toe the circuit for fear of losing control – and valuable parts on the car. Bottas, for example, went off at the ultra-fast 130R corner while Felipe Massa skipped through the gravel earlier in the lap.

Sebastian Vettel predicted this week that Mercedes would return to their strong hold over the grid this weekend, but judging from the times he seems to be holding them honest. With a dry qualifying and race predicted, the major players’ pace is still to be seen.

Free Practice One results:

  1. Carlos Sainz
  2. Daniil Kvyat
  3. Nico Rosberg
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Lewis Hamilton
  6. Max Verstappen
  7. Kimi Raikkonen
  8. Felipe Massa
  9. Marcus Ericsson
  10. Valtteri Bottas
  11. Felipe Nasr
  12. Jenson Button
  • Daniel Ricciardo (NT)*
  • Nico Hulkenberg (NT)
  • Sergio Perez (NT)
  • Fernando Alonso (NT)
  • Pastor Maldonado (NT)
  • Jolyon Palmer (NT)
  • Will Stevens (NT)
  • Alexander Rossi (NT)

*NT = No TIme

Image courtesy of Scuderia Toro Rosso/Getty Images.

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Verstappen To Drive For Toro Rosso In 2015

Max Verstappen will race for Toro Rosso in 2015, it was confirmed this week.

The Dutchman, son of former Benetton, Simtek, Arrows, Tyrell, Stewart, Honda and Minardi driver, Jos Verstappen, will become Formula One’s youngest ever driver next March when he lines up on the grid in Australia. He will replace Jean-Eric Vergne.

Vergne, 24, has raced with Toro Rosso since 2012 but was ignored during the search for Mark Webber’s replacement at sister team Red Bull, where his then team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was subsequently appointed. Following the news that Verstappen would be racing with the team in 2015, it was then confirmed that he would replace Vergne, following the Frenchman’s unimpressive performance when compared to rookie team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

“I would like to thank Dr. Helmut Marko and Red Bull for all their trust and giving me the chance to make my Formula debut in 2015 with Scuderia Toro Rosso,” Verstappen said in a Toro Rosso press release. ” Ever since I was seven years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true.”

Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost added: “We are happy to welcome Max into the Toro Rosso family. It’s great to see how the Red Bull Junior Programme continues to find talented young drivers and gives them the opportunity to come into Formula 1. We consider Max to be as one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation and we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully.”

Verstappen’s team-mate to-be, Daniil Kvyat, was also a surprising appointment when Red Bull pulled him straight from GP3 to Formula One, where he has proved himself to any doubters by scoring points in his first race and overshadowing his more experienced team-mate.

Verstappen’s appointment means he will break the record as the youngest driver ever to race in Formula One, at the age of 17 years and 166 days, beating Jaime Alguersuari’s record by almost two years. Alguersuari was a Toro Rosso driver between 2009 and 2011, losing his seat to allow the aforementioned Ricciardo and Vergne into the team, and failing to secure a drive for the following year. He tweeted cryptic tweets before the 2013 season, hinting that he had secured a drive, although this later turned out to be false.

Image courtesy of Red Bull/Getty Images.

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