From Minardi to Toro Rosso and AlphaThauri: an history of Italian excellence in Formula One

Abstract

Starting from Minardi era, this article aims to underline the historical evolution of the Formula One team AlphaTauri and, at the same time, to stress the key points that makes this team one of the most valuable Italian excellence in Formula One.  



The beginning: The Minardi era

80’s were part of the best years in Formula one history, a lot of legendary drivers and teams battled to get glory in some of the most famous and, at that time, dangerous circuits all around the world. In that period, due to a different and less complex regulation and to the ease with which it was possible to find sponsorships, a lot of brand-new teams started their journey in Formula One. One of these newcomers was Minardi, founded in 1979 by Gian Carlo Minardi, that made his entry in F1 only in 1985 after some years spent in learning the basics in the feeder series.

The headquarter of this team was based in Faenza, a town located in Emilia Romagna (Italy), a place that is now known as Motor Valley, for the presence of the greatest brands in automotive and motorsport, such as Dallara, Ferrari and so on. At the time was easier to find Italian teams in F1, but most of them disappears due to financial difficulties and poor results, meanwhile Minardi, despite all the difficulties that faced, kept his place in the pinnacle of motorsport until 2005. One of the key characteristics of the team was the ability to find young drivers able to shine and become some of the most talented in F1 history. Just to mention two of them that made their debut with Minardi: Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella.

 

 

The turning point: The acquisition by Red bull and the birth of Scuderia Toro Rosso

During the first years of 2000, Minardi struggled with a lot of performance and economic issues, difficulties that, with the new regulations, made the team took a decision that can be considered as the real turning point of his history. In 2005, after a really bad year, the team was sold to Red bull. The new name of the team was Toro Rosso, a way to underline the new property but, at the same time, to respect the Italian Heritage of it. The idea of Red Bull was to make this team an incubator for talented drivers. This choice could never be wrong, looking at the ability of Minardi to discover and grow talents. in conclusion, this change can be seen as a phoenix rising from its ashes.

In the next years some of the best drivers started their career in Toro Rosso. One of the most remarkable was Sebastian Vettel, that gave to the team in 2008 their first Victory in the hometown race of Monza, under the rain. That moment was such unbelievable as well as emotional, considering how difficult was, for a small team, to obtain such a dominant win. Another great talent that started his journey in Faenza was Max Verstappen, that is now fighting, with Red Bull, for the 2021 World Driver’s Championship against one of the most dominant drivers in Formula One history, Lewis Hamilton.

 

 

The present: The change in AlphaTauri and a new success

In 2020 the team got another change in his name. From that season onwards, the property decided to call it AlphaTauri, to sponsor a clothes brand linked to Red Bull’s family. This choice, despite could be considered less respectful of the Italian heritage of the team, must be seen also looking to the meaning of this term. AlphaTauri’s name came from Bayer’s luminosity nomenclature[1] of Aldebaran, that is the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus, a clear homage to the name of the holding company, but also a way to underline how important is the Faenza’s team in the Red Bull’s Formula One strategy.

During this period AlphaTauri made history again, in a very poetic way. Just like Vettel did in 2008, in the 2020’s Monza Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly got the second win for the team 12 years later and on the same circuit, after a tense battle with the McLaren driver Carlos Sainz. This win is a clear example of how this team is capable to create a perfect ecosystem between all the members of his Family. Gasly indeed, was taken back from Red Bull in that season, and his lack of consistency suddenly disappears due to the ability of the team to make him feels comfortable with the car and the people that revolve around him.

In conclusion, the history of AlphaTauri is fulfilled with difficult times and magic moments. It is however important to underline the capability of this Italian excellence to always overcome problems, create opportunities, discover and grow the future stars of Formula One.

 



[1] The nomenclature of Bayer is a way to classify stars, based on their luminosity.


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