However, December does afford something of a pause, when the engines have stopped turning and one can take a step back. Therefore, it’s the ideal time to assess what we have done. In our case, it would be something of an understatement to say we had a great year, because it really was a wonderful season for Scuderia Toro Rosso, with the highpoint being our two podium finishes that had everyone here, and all our brilliant fans, in seventh heaven.
The season got off to a good start, with Daniil on his return to Formula 1 after a year away from the race tracks, finishing in the points in the opening round in Australia. For the first twelve races, his team-mate was rookie driver Alex Albon. The Thai proved to be tough and determined and scored points in only his second ever Formula 1 race, in Bahrain. He also finished in the top ten in China, which marked Scuderia Toro Rosso’s 250th Grand Prix. We then had the satisfaction of seeing both our cars finish in the top ten in that most difficult of races on the streets of Monaco. Our best overall result came in a summer downpour in Hockenheim, with a fantastic podium finish for Daniil in the German Grand Prix. While he finished third, Alex made it an epic day for us, by coming home sixth. It was a fantastic showing in a complicated race, in which a well-executed strategy was the key to our great result.
The summer shut-down didn’t stop us from making the headlines with Alex switching places with Pierre Gasly, the Thai moving to Red Bull Racing and the Frenchman rejoining us in Faenza. If anything, the move seemed to motivate Pierre even more and he proceeded to rack up five points finishes from nine starts. That included the totally incredible performance in Brazil that saw him stand on the podium, having heroically fought off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in the final few hundred metres of the race to claim a well deserved second place.
Teamwork was the key to our success as we racked up a total of 85 points, including those two podium finishes. We finished sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, with fifth place tantalisingly close. However, now’s the time to lift off the throttle pedal for a while and enjoy a brief moment of relaxation. Next season is coming up fast and, as usual, there is much to do. But first everyone can spend a few days with family and friends before starting over again with our energy store on “maximum.” We’ll see you in 2020, ready to tackle a new and exciting season together, with new challenges and new heights to conquer. Happy Holidays to you all!