Until last year, this little Italian team had only one Formula 1 victory.

Until last year, this little Italian team had only one Formula 1 victory. At the 2008 Italian Grand Prix a young Sebastian Vettel piloted his car brilliantly, in torrential rain, to take a famous win and mark him out as a future super star. His success at Monza was rewarded with promotion to Red Bull Racing for the following season, which kick-started a partnership that would lead to four World Championship titles.

Red Bull Racing’s first year in Formula 1 was 2005 and a year later the energy drinks company took over a second team and named them Toro Rosso (the Italian for Red Bull).

Toro Rosso are based in the town of Faenza, not too far from both Ferrari’s headquarters and the Imola circuit in the heart of the Italian racing community. The team Red Bull acquired was originally founded in 1985 by motorsport enthusiast Giancarlo Minardi. Over a stretch of two decades, Minardi were perennial underdogs, always running at the back of the field. To put the team’s 2008 Monza win (as Toro Rosso) into perspective, in their previous 340 races, Minardi had only ever led a Grand Prix once – and just for a single lap.

The injection of cash from Red Bull not only gave the staff at Faenza long-term security but reinvented the team with a stronger purpose on the Formula 1 grid.

As Minardi, the team struggled financially but would often be hailed as bringing young talent into the sport. Famous drivers such as Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber made their Grand Prix debuts with Minardi, and that tradition continued under Red Bull’s ownership as the squad became a home for racers in the fizzy drink’s Young Driver Programme.

As well as the aforementioned Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Toro Rosso have also run future stars such as Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. But under the tough management of team principal Franz Tost and Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko (the driver who lost an eye due to a wayward stone in the 1972 French GP) there is little sympathy for young drivers who fail to reach the exacting standards expected in Formula 1.

Recently, Russia’s Daniil Kvyat and French racer Pierre Gasly have found their careers impacted as they have been promoted to Red Bull, only to be demoted back to the B-team when they have failed to perform. But then Gasly shocked the motorsport world last year when he repeated what Vettel did in 2008 and took the Faenza team to the top step of the podium, once more at Monza.

At the beginning of 2020 Toro Rosso went through a revamp and the outfit was renamed AlphaTauri, which is a fashion label owned by Red Bull. The name is taken from the brightest star in the Taurus constellation (once again coming back to bulls…) which appears in the bull’s eye – symbolising precision and a desire to achieve absolute perfection.

AlphaTauri continue a close alliance with sister team Red Bull, and both are powered by Honda engines, which will morph into Red Bull Powertrains from 2022 onwards.