Speaking on the day of the launch of his team’s 2013 challenger, Toro Rosso boss man Franz Tost sounded a clear warning to his two drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne, saying that more is expected from the pair this season as the team targets sixth place in the constructors’ championship.
Tost said on the occasion of the launch, “We will be expecting more from them this year as they both tackle their second full season of F1. However, we are well aware it is up to us to provide them with a car that’s capable of allowing them to show their undoubted talent.”
The Faenza based team is in a state of change, starting with their technical director James Key who arrived at the squad six months ago and has yet to impact the production elements of the team.
The STR8 was penned by Luca Furbatto who has been with the team for a year in the post of chief designer, and along with the design team has embarked on a totally new concept for the 2013 car.
Furbatto explained the thinking behind the team’s current car, which differs markedly in philosophy from last year’s project, “The STR7 was very limited in terms of set-up possibilities and with STR8 we opened up this aspect substantially, adding devices and features not present on previous STR cars. This should allow race engineers and drivers to perfect the handling and ride behaviour of the new car.”
“As for the aerodynamic concept of the car, this too has changed fundamentally from the previous year. Development was rather limited in 2012 and this was because the STR7’s distinctive sidepod design, although initially looking quite good, later proved difficult to develop, so that we reached a plateau during the season. We therefore decided in early August to go down another route and at the same time took the opportunity to change the cooling layout of the car and so, on STR8 the radiators are much lower.”
“This also allows us to drop the deck of the sidepods more aggressively. These changes mean that the car actually looks quite conventional, while still retaining some of the features of STR7, because even if it is a new concept, it is an evolution based on the current regulations. We are also planning an aggressive development programme for the first part of the season, based around a very narrow rear end and low exhausts.”
From a weight distribution point of view, we believe that thanks to the architectural shape of STR8, we should be able to explore all the opportunities within the weight distribution range allowed in the rules.”
“Initial indications on suspension compliance are encouraging and in terms of aero development we are in better shape than at the end of last season and another positive step is that the rate of development is increasing, indicating there is further potential to move forward in terms of downforce,” concluded Furbatto.
Meanwhile Tost outlined other important changes, “Both our drivers will have new race engineers for this season: Daniel Ricciardo will work with Marco Matassa, who was his data engineer and has already engineered him at a couple of races in 2012 and some tests. Jean-Eric Vergne is teamed up with Phil Charles, formerly a race engineer at Renault F1.”
“Predictions for this season? Let’s wait and see. We have worked hard and hopefully done a good job these past months and the three test sessions in Spain will begin to reveal some trends among the teams, but until we all line up on a real race grid, there will be no clear picture of what we can expect. Nevertheless, we have set ourselves a target of finishing sixth in the constructors’ classification,” admitted Tost.
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