On the face if it, Toro Ross have had made improvements since last year, when they only scored 8 points in 2009. This year so far, they have scored 10 points in 5 different races. However, on closer inspection, if the 2009 points system was in place, they would have a grand total of 1 point, being even worse off than last season.
One good performance in Malaysia isn't enough for Jaime Alguersuari's drive to be secure
When each driver’s performance is compared, it is clear that Sebastien Buemi has been beating Jaime Alguersuari so far, with 7 points to the Spaniard’s 3. When they finish outside the points though, Alguersuari is more consistent, finishing every race and never ending a race lower than 13th, whereas Buemi has retired 3 times, and has had 2 16th position finishes.
While each driver has their advantages and disadvantages, it could be argued that neither driver is performing at full potential. While Buemi led the Canadian Grand Prix for a lap, and scored more than double Jaime’s points tally, he has had 3 retirements, 2 of which were first-lap collisions. While Jaime had a great race in Malaysia, and hasn’t recorded a single retirement, he hasn’t scored a point since Spain, 5 races ago.
However, it is being rumoured that Red Bull are eyeing up Buemi for 2012, leaving Alguersuari as the driver who needs to prove himself this season. After about a season in F1 now (he started halfway through 2009), the second half of this season is crucial to him if he is to stay in F1. If he cannot, then there are two very competent drivers who are eager to take his place: Brendon Hartley and Daniel Ricciardo.
So far, I have focused on the drivers, seeing as the car is very reliable with medium pace, which means that the drivers simply have to prove themselves in it. However, for the team themselves, an engine switch may be in order. While their Ferrari unit has not failed yet, it does not have the fuel consumption or pace like the Renault or Mercedes engines do. Seeing as Mercedes are filled up at the moment, Renault would be the optimum choice for Toro Rosso, seeing as their older sibling, Red Bull, already use those engines.
While the Ferrari engine hasn’t been bad to Toro Rosso, if they are to make progress in the constructors’ championship, then they must make changes to their car first. Otherwise, they will be stuck as a midfield team, in which case they will be battling with Lotus very soon, making things even harder for them.