Toro Rosso fields one of the least experienced driver line ups of 2008 season – Sebastian Vettel with just 8 races to his name, and Formula 1 rookie, Sebastien Bourdais.
Sebastian Vettel – Germany
Born: 3 July 1987
In F1 since 2007 BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso (he tested for Williams in 2005 and BMW Sauber in 2006)
Best Result: 14th in 2007
Career wins: 0
Pole positions: 0
Podium finishes: 0
Point finishes: 2
Best result: 4th place, Chinese GP 2007
Sebastian Vettel debut F1 race was 2007 US GP, where he replaced Robert Kubica (following his Montreal crash). He drove solid but not exactly spectacular race. But he brought the car home in 7th place, scoring 2 points in first Formula 1 race. It was more difficult after he took over from Scott Speed at Toro Rosso. The STR02 was no BMW and further points did not look very likely. Then the wet races came. In Japan Vettel even lead the race for 3 laps and looked set for an amazing podium finish. A lapse in concentration behind the safety car ruined his and Webber’s race and all that was left were tears. But another wet weekend followed in China. Vettel ran pretty much perfect race and scored sensational 4th place for the Toro Rosso team. His half season of racing experience may come handy early on in 2008, especially when the team will start the season with the old (updated) car. The STR02 looked rather competitive during the winter tests and I would not bet against Vettel finishing in the points here and there.
Sebastien Bourdais – France
Born: 28 February 1979
F1 rookie (tested with Arrows in 2002 and Renault in 2003)
2002 F3000 Champion
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Champ Car Champion
It will be interesting to see how will Sebastien Bourdais handle his switch to Formula 1. It took some time, but finally, after winning the Champ Car series in the U.S. four times in a row, he got his Formula 1 break. It will not be easy for him though. He himself expects early season difficulties in qualifying and starting low in F1 seldom results in point finishes. He will have to get used to mid to back of the field battles, quite a different story from his Champ Car dominance. Most of the recent arrivals from North American racing struggled in F1 and that is what I expect from Bourdais too … I do however wish him well and I hope that I am just too pesimistic in his case.
F1Wolf’s prediction for Toro Rosso drivers in 2008:
Sebastian Vettel will emerge as Toro Rosso number 1 driver early on in the season and will score the teams first points of 2008 season. Bourdais will have tough time.
2008 F1 Season – Team Mates – Ferrari
2008 F1 Season – Team Mates – McLaren
2008 F1 Season – Team Mates – BMW Sauber
2008 F1 Season – Team Mates – Renault
2008 F1 Season – Team Mates – Williams
2008 F1 Season – Team Mates – Red Bull
2008 F1 Season – Team Mates – Toyota
2008 F1 Season – Team Mates – Honda