The 2016 Formula One World Championship will see both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz return to drive the new Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR11, maintaining the same driver lineup as this past season but under new motivation. Both drivers debuted with the team last season in a complete shakeup of its roster after Jean-Éric Vergne was shown the door and Daniil Kvyat (like Daniel Ricciardo before him) was promoted to the Red Bull Racing team. In ten seasons on the grid, the team has only landed on the podium once, and that was with Sebastian Vettel's dramatic rain-soaked race victory at Monza in 2008.
The fourth-place finishes that Verstappen impressively took in Hungary and Austin this year match the team's next-best results to date. Sainz managed to finish in the points in seven out of 19 grands prix this season, including a seventh-place finish in Austin. The team finished the season in seventh place – tying its second best results to date – ahead of Sauber and McLaren, but behind Lotus and Force India.
The Austrian parent company bought the team formerly known as Minardi back in 2005, hitting the grid the next season under its current name and Cosworth power. The following season it switched to Ferrari engines before joining its big brother under Renault motivation for the past season. Because of the last-minute engine swap, the team will start the season using Ferrari's 2015 power units.
Faenza's switch to Ferrari supply will leave Renault powering only two teams next season: the Lotus outfit that it is now bringing back in house, and Red Bull, which will run the French automaker's engines for at least one more season – albeit branded under the TAG Heuer name. Meanwhile the Prancing Horse marque will power a total of four teams next season, including its own, Toro Rosso, Sauber, and newcomer Haas. Mercedes will power three and Honda just the one.
Scuderia Toro Rosso's 2016 challenger, the STR11, will feature a Ferrari power unit. It marks a return to the company that supplied engines to the team from 2007 to 2013.
Because of the last minute nature of the decision relating to the power unit supply for next year, the team will use the very last specification used in the 2015 season. With Scuderia Ferrari's own cars finishing third and fourth in the final race of the year and second overall in the Constructors' Championship, that is a positive situation in which to start Scuderia Toro Rosso's eleventh year in Formula 1.
Logistically, with the engine supplier just a short drive up the Autostrada and even linguistically, the return to Ferrari will make for an easy working relationship. Taking this into account, and considering the past achievements with Maranello, an improvement in performance can certainly be expected next year. Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen can be counted on, too. After being confirmed for the 2016 season, they will be able to translate all this year's learnings and experience into additional valuable feedback throughout the season.
Franz Tost: "It's great to be working with Ferrari again. We had a fruitful relationship in the past and I'm sure it won't take long for us all to be working together very well again. It's true that time will be very tight for us to be ready for the first test, but we have the right team of people for this and I'm confident that together we will achieve a competitive package for next year – bring on 2016!"
Scuderia Toro Rosso would also like to take the opportunity to thank Renault for their efforts over the past two years.
Scuderia Ferrari to supply Power Unit to Toro Rosso in 2016
Scuderia Ferrari and Scuderia Toro Rosso have reached an agreement that will see the Faenza-based squad use the current Ferrari Power Unit in the 2016 Formula One season.
First on-track testing will start in February 2016 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.