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  Article Image gallery (13) STR3-04 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:2008
Numbers built:4
Designed by:Adrian Newey for Red Bull Technology
Successor:Toro Rosso STR4 Ferrari
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 25, 2019
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn what has been one of the greatest upsets in Formula 1's recent history, Sebastian Vettel scored a surprise victory in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. Not only did this make Vettel the youngest ever Grand Prix winner, it was also the very first win for the team that started out in Formula 1 as Minardi back in 1984. The car used that day was the STR3, which was was the third car developed by the team after it had been acquired by Red Bull as a junior team.

The STR3 was developed in conjunction with Red Bull Technology and as such had design input of Adrian Newey. It was a wholly conventional car built around a carbon-fibre composite monocoque and fitted with double wishbones and push-rods on all four corners. Unlike the Renault-engined Red Bull Racing RB3 it was derived from, the STR3 was powered by a year-old Ferrari V8. This was mated to a seven-speed, paddle operated gearbox that was also supplied by Ferrari.

Unfortunately, the STR3 was not ready in time for the start of the 2008 season, so the team fielded an updated version of the STR2 instead. It was suggested that the car would make its competitive debut at the fourth or fifth race of the year but in the end the STR3 was first raced at round six, the Monaco Grand Prix. Having joined the team halfway through the 2007 season, Sebastian Vettel was back behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso in 2008. He was joined by new team-mate Sebastien Bourdais.

The new Toro Rosso proved worth the wait as Vettel debuted the STR3 with a fifth place finish. He would go on to finish in the points eight times in the remaining 12 Grands Prix. The absolute highlight of course was Vettel's victory in a rain-soaked Italian Grand Prix from pole position. In the very wet opening stages, he managed to build up a large enough lead over the intrinsically faster rivals to allow him to score the historic win.

Thanks almost entirely to the STR3, Toro Rosso ended the year sixth in the standings. Embarrassingly, that was actually one better than Red Bull Racing. Vettel stepped up to Red Bull Racing for 2009 and would go on to win four consecutive world titles. Toro Rosso would never be quite as competitive as in 2008 again.

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  Article Image gallery (13) STR3-04 Specifications