Toro Rosso by Tom Firth
For 2014, Toro Rosso retains Jean Eric-Vergne whilst signing 19-year-old GP3 champion Daniil Kyvat, an interesting choice for the Faenza based team, with a large technical jump from GP3 to F1. It could be an interesting decision with exciting prospects of what’s to come.
A lot of questions also remain on how the smaller teams including Toro Rosso will react to the 2014 rule changes due to the costs associated and more limited resources. Toro Rosso has the added change of moving from Ferrari to Renault Powertrains in 2014. I don’t think the powertrain change will make a large impact on the teams on track performance due to the team’s seemingly solid position within F1’s championship structure.
However the team still has many changes to contend with and that continuous identity crisis of being either the second Red Bull team to support the passage of Red Bull Junior team drivers into Formula One. The alternative being an Independent entity to Red Bull Racing within F1 and it’s rather difficult for the team to distinguish itself as one identity over the other.
So my predictions for Toro Rosso in 2014 …
1. Daniil Kyvat will be continuously and rather unfairly be compared to Sebastian Vettel’s time at Toro Rosso as with every Toro Rosso driver since Vettel throughout the season
2. The Commentary teams of the world will spend the first 2 races trying to pronounce Daniil Kyvat’s name in a million different ways.
3. James Key as the team’s Technical Director will develop another competitive packaged F1 car for a team the size of Toro Rosso. Yet remain under rated once again.
4. All coverage of the team’s relative success will be overshadowed by how well Daniel Ricciardo does at Red Bull
5. Toro Rosso will be locked in a constructor’s battle with Williams, Force India and Sauber for 2014 and an eternity afterwards eventually finishing 7th in the constructors standings.
6. Daniil Kyvat will score the teams highest points all season during his home grand prix in Russia.
7. Jean Eric-Vergne will finish his season with 14 points.
8. Daniil Kyvat’s relative success will make f1 teams look at GP3 champions instead of GP2 drivers for the next young drivers.
9. Toro Rosso will finish one position below Williams in the 2014 constructors championship.
10. The highest place a Toro Rosso driver will finish a race will be 7th position.
Caterham by Paul Charsley
Ferrari, Mercedes, Mclaren not the names you’d normally put in the same sentence as Caterham but Caterham are truly the 4th manufacturer team in F1. Tony Fernandes purchase of the Caterham brand may have been a quick decision once the loss of the Lotus name was not available, but he is one of my favourite people on the grid and the decision is blossoming into something unique.
With the Caterham brand beginning to be elevated from an enthusiast’s Sunday toy runabout to some legitimate track cars (I recently drove the SP/300R and loved it!) the Caterham F1 team have some very good reasons to try and push for more competitiveness and not just be a place for rent-a-drivers on their way up the ladder. With the initial line up of Kovalainen & Trulli they certainly started off as a serious outfit and although the driver line ups have diminished the push from the factory side has been growing with the whole factory move and adding more and more in house technology.
Even though the Marussia team beat them to the coveted 10th spot this year I see the structure of Caterham F1 still having more potential and more chance of coming out of the box better prepared for the new era. Tough call on the predictions as of writing this the drivers have not been named and perhaps even chosen, but either way I think they will indeed score their first points this year and in more than 1 race.
They need to concentrate on reliability and focus on a design that can shine on a particular track layout , be it high speed low downforce or high downforce, if they try and build a car that is ok on all they will struggle to work their way off of the back, but put in 3-4 good runs will be a great kick start to getting to the mid field. 10th place will still be the end point but with some points on the board this will be the launching pad to allow the “new team” moniker to disappear.