Scuderia Toro Rosso entered Formula 1 in 2006 from the ashes of the Minardi team. They were immediately recognised as a sister, and junior, team for Red Bull, but their place on the grid has been productive for fans as well as Red Bull. Toro Rosso have handed debuts to several exciting drivers that have tasted success in F1. Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, and Carlos Sainz all got their debuts there, as well as the likes of Jean-Eric Vergne and Sebastien Buemi who have gone on to have terrific careers outside of F1.
While the Toro Rosso team have never troubled the front of the grid consistently, they are a testing ground for talented young drivers, which makes them a logical place to start your own career. Toro Rosso has only claimed one pole position and one race win, both earned by Sebastian Vettel during a torrential weekend at the Italian Grand Prix in 2008. Can you bring them the kind of success they have never seen before?
If you decide to start your career with Toro Rosso then you will be expected to control the midfield. This means scoring points fairly consistently and staying well away from the back of the pack.
Toro Rosso's highest finish in the constructors' title is sixth, but for the last several seasons they have been seventh, a reasonable spot for a team that leans on young drivers and pushes them hard. They also prefer showmanship over sportsmanship from their drivers, this means being a bit more cocky and self-assured with your answers during interviews.
These expectations are not unreasonable. The Toro Rosso is a very driveable car compared to those around it and is very predictable. If you can qualify well and stay out of trouble in the first corner, you can keep yourself in the battle for points as the race develops. The key with progressing in lower teams is to protect your tyres so you can maximise race strategy and use your fuel & battery modes wisely so you can push at the end of stints and sneak yourself ahead when you see an opportunity.
Each team has a unique R&D tree this year, with a "fog of war" obscuring the branches and all the ultimate upgrades. Toro Rosso come into the first season of career mode with a relatively competitive car. Their chassis department sits above McLaren, Sauber, and Williams, and the aerodynamics department is better than Force India, Sauber, and Williams. The biggest issue is the powertrain. With the feeble Honda power unit Toro Rosso rank dead last in power, making the early season visits to Bahrain and Azerbaijan particularly painful.
This is where you should start your development. You begin with 1,600 resource points, which is enough to get an efficiency boost to the powertrain department and the first upgrade straight away. As you can see the next two powertrain upgrades are major ones, which should give you a nice boost to performance going into the second half of the first season.
While Toro Rosso does ok in chassis and aerodynamics compared to some of the teams around them, if you want to move up the grid you can't stand still in those departments. Make sure you invest in an efficiency boost, and a quality control boost, for them as well and then get to work building your car's performance. You can find our full R&D strategy guide here, and this is what the fully unlocked Toro Rosso R&D tree looks like.
As you can see you have to do some work before you reach ultimate upgrades in any department, but there are plenty of nice upgrades to be had early on in the powertrain and chassis departments, which will make the car more stable and faster in to and out of corners.
It will take you some time to get Toro Rosso to the front of the grid. Even if you nail all of your practice programs each week, it is a long old climb to the pinnacle as other teams will be improving too. The midfield is closely grouped, so it won't take you too long to get to from the seventh place in the constructors' Toro Rosso are used to up to the top of the midfield. However, it will be well into season two before you bridge the gap to the big three teams and can start to contend for a world title.
This is a good thing though, because the only reason to start with Toro Rosso, beyond their excellent livery, is for the challenge of bringing the team their first world title. Early on the Toro Rosso's best chance of a result will be at Monaco, Hungary, and Singapore where power is less important and their relatively strong aero and chassis can shine. As a player you have a few natural advantages at places like Austria and China where the AI are less impressive too. The AI struggles out of turn 13 onto the back straight which is a really nice advantage for Toro Rosso especially.