The ‘Adrian Newey car’ which backfired on Toro Rosso in F1 2008

Henry Valantine
Sebastian Vettel drives an Adrian Newey designed Toro Rosso.

Sebastian Vettel took a surprise victory for Toro Rosso at Monza in 2008.

Outgoing Toro Rosso and AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost revealed that the car that powered Sebastian Vettel to glory at Monza in 2008 was effectively an “Adrian Newey car”, with only a change of engine.

Vettel, then a Toro Rosso driver, took victory against the odds at a wet Italian Grand Prix to notch his first of 53 wins in Formula 1 and announced himself on the world stage in the process.

It was also the first ever victory for Red Bull’s junior team, but that would also prove costly as it prompted their rivals into action that limited what they could take from Red Bull.

Franz Tost recalls ‘Adrian Newey car’ that powered Sebastian Vettel to Monza glory

Vettel’s win would be the Faenza-based team’s only victory until Pierre Gasly won at the same circuit in 2020, making it all the more special for Red Bull’s feeder team.

But as the team principal pointed out, there were unintended consequeneces from that weekend in Italy.

“In 2008 we won at Monza and on the one hand that was a great success for the team,” Tost told RacingNews365.

“On the other hand – every medal has two sides – it caused a lot of problems, because the teams and the FIA decided to change the regulations.

“We had nowhere near the infrastructure to design our own car. The car we won with at Monza was an ‘Adrian Newey car’.

“The only difference was that we had a Ferrari engine and Red Bull had a Renault engine.”

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Tost spent 18 seasons at the helm of Red Bull’s junior team after they took over Minardi in the mid-2000s, to use as a way of bringing young drivers to the front of Formula 1.

Vettel and Max Verstappen have gone on to become World Champions from there, with several others having had successful careers, but Toro Rosso did not have the infrastructure in place to handle the rule changes initially, according to Tost.

With Minardi having been perennial backmarkers in their time in Formula 1, Tost revealed that a lot of hiring had to take place to cope with the changes that came about after Vettel’s victory.

“It was a very interesting time,” Tost reflected to media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher in Abu Dhabi.

“I started on the 8th of November 2005 in Faenza, and we had 85 people and it was not so easy at the beginning.

“But as you know, Dietrich Mateschitz said to me, ‘Look, there are two pillars you have to take care for: First of all, use the synergies with Red Bull Technology and second, to educate the young drivers. They must then come to Red Bull Racing, win races and if possible, lots of championships.’

“I thought to myself, ‘Okay, clear what you want, boss’ and this is how we started, and it worked really well at the beginning.

“We got all the material, the cars from Red Bull Technology, and maybe it worked a little bit too good because in 2008 when we won Monza, afterwards, the FIA and the teams changed the regulation.

“They came up with the listed parts, which meant that we had to do nearly everything in house.

“We had to design the front wing, the rear wing, the complete bodywork, the diffuser, the floor, and the monocoque – and we didn’t have the infrastructure for this, which meant we had to find the people for the aerodynamic department, designers, production, quality control and all this kind of stuff, and this was a difficult time.

“But it was a challenge, and I must say I liked it, I learned a lot in this period and I would not like to miss it.”

Read next: Jos Verstappen on Max’s Red Bull loyalty and Lewis Hamilton dream team possibility

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