The Japanese Grand Prix was Carlos Sainz’s last race in Toro Rosso’s colours. Beginning with the trip to the United States he will share the Renault pit with German driver Nico Hulkenberg, taking the place of Palmer who has been left on foot.
The forecast is for an incandescent final in the support positions since the gap between between Toro Rosso (sixth in the constructors’ ladder) and Renault (in eighth place) is only ten points. In the middle is the American Haas team with a single point advantage over the French constructor.
Franz Tost will be called upon to confront a true driver alert. Having been left without the driver with a pedigree able to make 48 of the 52 points (the other four were gained by Kvyat) who dragged the team in the wake of fifth placed Williams, in a week’s time he will have to do without the young Gasly who was called upon to replace Kvyat in the Malaysian Grand Prix. In fact, the Frenchman will be involved in winning the Super Formula Championship in the final round Japan. Honda decided not to let the driver go.
If on the one hand Carlos Sainz will try to help Renault to climb the ladder at his ex team’s expense, Toro Rosso will try to counter the comeback with the return of Kvyat to the wheel of the STR12, while it is still uncertain who will take the second seat.
The transfer of the Spaniard to Nico Hulkenberg’s side is part of the negotiations that in 2018 will bring the Honda motor to Faenza which leaves the French power-units early while they will continue to power the Red Bull of Verstappen and Ricciardo.
“I hope that the eventual decrease in income from the lost television rights will be compensated by financial agreements of which we know nothing since for the moment Scuderia Toro Rosso comes out weakened. They have been denied their top driver who has gone to their direct rival at a crucial time in the season. They could attack Williams’ fifth place, but they could also slip back to eighth spot with serious losses in terms of the budget for 2018” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.