Three to Think - Toro Rosso
We are just days away from the first race of the season. The amount of excitement that’s in the air is incredible. The pre-season build up was fantastic. Yes, we are talking about those pre-season tests. Nothing major has been conclusive so far, but we have to wonder if there are teams who are already banking on 2014. Or, we can put it in this way – Should some teams in particular try and go all out for the 2014 season from this very moment?
We are not making this up. It’s a well known fact that the 2014 season is probably the biggest season in recent times. The expenses are already tipped to hit the high charts for many teams. Normally, when this sort of major season arrives, we would definitely point our fingers at the backmarkers and the midfield teams to put their money on the ‘Major Season’. But, we really have to pick three particular teams, who need to put their money on the 2014 season from this very moment to ensure they are not lost in the ‘Zeal’.
One such person is James Key. Many of you would be wondering if this hype on James Key is really worth it. But we believe he deserves all the recognition that he has been getting in the sport, and really deserves more. He has lifted the prospects of many teams in the past, and his records speak for himself. The success of the Sauber C31 might be well due to the fact that James Key had played a crucial role in its development.
Toro Rosso is one of the few teams that has a rich heritage in its past forms. Still, the roots of this team are based in Italy, and although the team is funded heavily by the Austrian giants, Toro Rosso wishes to be more independent. Part of the reason for this team’s struggles on the track is down to the fact that the input they receive from their big sister team has to be converted to the engines they currently operate. This is the reason the team has indicated their desire to go after Renault for the supply of engines, in spite of the fact that Renault have admitted to using their maximum possible quota of supplying engines. Renault have also been stressing that they want to keep their number of customers in limited quantum.
Sometimes, it’s really confusing as to what Toro Rosso generally wants to achieve in this sport. Several people haven’t got the idea when Dietrich Mateschitz revealed his desire to purchase two teams. It’s all about having two teams, with one of them hunting for the title and the other training the drivers for the main team. But eventually, Dietrich Mateschitz understood about the escalating costs in the sport, and decided to cut down the ties with this little team based in Italy. Eventually, the team has gone through many phases in their short stint under its present disguise. Over the last few seasons, we understand that they are trying to be more independent. Lots of changes have been made on the technical side. Although the sacking of a well set pair of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari was criticized by many, it seems this was done in accordance with their tradition of training young drivers in this field, and both Buemi and Alguersuari are too old for their programme.
But then, the idea of signing James Key is a major turnover for this team. We have to believe that the mighty Adrian Newey, at some point in the future, might well have to step down from the sport. Toro Rosso is a place where people are trained to ensure that they are ready for a top fight. James Key is certainly one of the few recognized technical staff in this field. It would be a fitting idea to use Toro Rosso as a test field for James Key, and if he shows some true progress, then he would well be the fitting candidate to replace the mighty man (now please, we know that it would be impossible to replace Newey in the record books).
The pre-season testing has indicated that Toro Rosso is in the mix. The idea of targeting the sixth place in the constructors standings suddenly seems to be a possible task. But then, Sauber, Force India and Williams aren’t empty handed either. For sure, these teams would fight back to find that extra tenths, while still developing their next challenger. It would be really foolish to underestimate a midfield team. They have shown in the past about their abilities to fight back, and a team like Force India in the past have shown progress in the second half of the season.
But when you are a midfield team, and are constantly challenging for the Top 10 position, the next ideal target would be a Top 5 or even a podium finish. These teams, with the low budget that they operate in, would really have to find a way to chase their dreams. For some, it would be a dream, like the Force India team, who have long hoped for a podium at their home race, and then there are some, who although are consistently inconsistent, have proved that they can stake their claim on victory at some odd race of the season, like Sauber. While the debate can carry on as to who exactly should get credit for the success of the C31, the man in contention is James Key. It would be a brilliant idea to push this man further, and give him no boundaries to ensure that he designs a perfect challenger which can be labelled the ‘dark-horse’ of the season.
James Key needs stability at this point. Although his products have shown signs of recoveries, James Key hasn’t been able to stay on at any particular team to further develop his products into consistent challengers for victories. Now that the man who was tipped to leave the sport has been brought back into the action, it would be an amazing idea to ask him to focus on the 2014 challenger more. This might be a strong ask for Toro Rosso – to bank on a new season altogether. But there has to be a point in this team when it has to do more than just train young drivers on the grid. The likes of Caterham and Marussia might also break the progress of Toro Rosso if they aren’t pushed at all in the coming seasons. By putting their focus on the 2014 season, Toro Rosso would solve a few riddles. It would prove the talent of James Key to an extent. It would also change the dimension of this team further. Would Dietrich Mateschitz be tempted to invest more in this team, or in fact, would new sponsors be approaching this team backed by Red Bull? Toro Rosso would surely be a curious case for the future if at all they decide to do that, but then we do know that this may not happen. And irrespective of whether they think of this plan or not, James Key looks to be a talented material, and is really wasted at this end of the grid. It would be really worse if James Key and his abilities are not put forward properly, especially if Dietrich Mateschitz decides to cut his ties further with this team.