These aren't your 95-96 Bulls.
Okay, you may or may not get that reference, but it's no secret that when people say Red Bull in F1, very few of us would think 'Toro Rosso!'
Yet 2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of both Red Bull teams in Formula 1 and lasting for a decade is no laughing matter in the high-speed carrousel that is F1. What's mildly ironic is that the (other) Scuderia beat it's benefactor to the top step of the podium. It took 6 more grand prix over 2 seasons before RBR put a race winner's trophy in their cabinet. (Which was also won by Seb)
It wasn't that long ago that the words 'Toro' and 'Rosso' placed subsequent to one was synonymous with 'Back' and 'Marker'. The miniature bulls began life 1 point above last in 2006. The United States Grand Prix that year eliminated 13 cars before it was over, handing all but one finisher a share of the points. In total, both Red Bull teams brought home 16 points that year, which combined would have earned them 7th.
2007 brought more of the same for Tost and company. Before China, the 2nd-to-last race of the season, they hadn't put up a single point. In a race that only retired a reasonable 5 cars, Toro Rosso struck gold with a double points finish, just enough to complete the season in 7th place.
2008 was the season no Toro Rosso fan will ever forget. At the 14th race of the season, located at a little known circuit called Monza, a 21-year old Sebastian Vettel drove what would become a signature of her career by commanding the race from first lap to last.
The year after claiming that race win and 6th place overall, the Bull's second team dropped to 10th, dead last in the championship. In that whole season, they scored less points than they did at Monza in 2008.
In 2014, they've found a way back.
2010 brought them up to 9th, and since 2014, they've taken home 8th place. Toro Rosso is a story of unexpected triumph as well as predictable mediocrity.
So what does the future hold for the mini-bulls? Well, their survival is guaranteed, but their success is not. Injecting Haas into the midfield of F1 squeezes the same amount of points into a higher number of teams. With Sauber on the rise and Manor likely to fold, Toro Rosso will want to avoid returning to the back marker status they once monopolized.