Toro Rosso now F1’s third force – rivals

Mon, 15 September 2008, 05:58

Two top formula one drivers believe Toro Rosso can now be referred to as the sport’s third force.

Fernando Alonso, who was quick to congratulate Sebastian Vettel in parc ferme on Sunday after the German stole his records for youngest pole sitter and winner at Monza, thinks the Faenza based squad is now hot on the heels of F1’s ‘big two’ teams.

“You could tell that sooner or later they were going to be on the pole and on the podium,” the Spaniard is quoted as saying by Diario AS newspaper.

“Right now I see them right behind Ferrari and McLaren,” Alonso added.

Robert Kubica, meanwhile, drives for BMW-Sauber, the German team that is a comfortable third in the 2008 constructors’ championship behind the top two teams.

“In the last few races Toro Rosso have even become the third team in dry conditions, or fourth, whatever, but very close, even in front of us sometimes,” the Pole said after finishing third in Italy.

Much of the credit for STR’s current performance has gone to engine supplier Ferrari, so Monza winner Vettel might feel uncomfortable about moving to Red Bull’s Renault-powered senior team in 2009.

“First of all, no matter what happens, next year I am going to race for Red Bull Racing. I don’t see it’s a step backwards,” the 21-year-old said on Sunday in the wake of rumours he might ask to have the move delayed.

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