[Why AlphaTauri may lose its F1 reason for being amid identity crisis
When Red Bull bought out Minardi at the end of 2005, it did so with a clear identity and goal as it metamorphosed into Scuderia Toro Rosso. In his official capacity as talent-spotter-in-chief, Helmut Marko had put together a band of a few junior drivers that he thought could be worth a punt in Formula 1, but there weren’t enough seats on the grid for them all to show their worth.
In buying out Minardi, Red Bull had a ready-made ‘junior team’ that could serve as an apprenticeship for the drivers next on the conveyor belt with a view to moving up to the parent Red Bull Racing outfit. Although 2006’s pairing of Vitantonio Liuzzi (who’d shared the second Red Bull drive with Christian Klien) and Scott Speed never made the move from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, the ladder eventually began to work out in supplying the parent team with talents. Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, and Alex Albon all embarked upon the expected trajectory with mixed results, as Toro Rosso offered a chance to show their mettle and be competitive in the midfield. Of those, Vettel and Verstappen became world champions at the team, proving Toro Rosso’s worth as the step between the junior categories and the top of F1.