Tost: If everything works in Bahrain there is a real opportunity to catch up to Mercedes

Franz Tost remains positive amid problems

Franz Tost remains positive amid problems

Toro Rosso’s Team Principal laments the fact that his team’s new car, the STR9, has done so few laps in testing, due to problems with the new V6 turbo Power Unit, yet he remains convinced that Renault will recover from the problem plagued start to their season… he upturn perhaps beginning with testing in Bahrain this week.

Speaking to Speedweek, Tost said, “It is difficult to assess the performance of the car. We hardly know how the car handles, because we have done so few laps. Both the reliability and performance represent two unknowns.”

But the Austrian believes that the last test in Bahrain was a step up from the debacle of Jerez late last month.

Jean-Eric Vergne jumps out of his stricken Toro Rosso during Bahrain testing

Jean-Eric Vergne jumps out of his stricken Toro Rosso during Bahrain testing

“In addition to the much nicer weather [in Bahrain], the power unit performed better. Renault made progress.”

But he is also aware of what rivals were achieving at the same time, “The Mercedes factory team is clearly in the lead, followed by McLaren and Ferrari. Williams and Force India also showed good performance. With Ferrari I have a feeling they are not showing their whole hand. Of course, it is beyond my knowledge, how much fuel the teams were using to set these fast times.”

At the end of last year Toro Rosso terminated their engine supply deal with Ferrari, and now like their sister team – Red Bull – are powered by Renault which has advantages.

“There is an intensive exchange of ideas between the two teams, together with Renault with regards to the Power Unit,” said Tost of the new association.

Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger during testing in Bahrain

Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger during testing in Bahrain

The new generation F1 cars are complex machines, which are not easy to work on. Tost explained, “The entire construction of the car is more complex. There is a turbo engine and a complicated exhaust system, two energy recovery systems with electric cables and wires for cooling.”

“Not to mention the bulky battery. Everything must of course be accommodated in a confined space. Thus to best prepare a car, takes a lot of time especially during the tests.”

However, despite the trials and tribulations, Tost remains upbeat, “The time to Melbourne is tight. But if everything works at the second test in Bahrain, there is a real opportunity to catch up to the Mercedes team.”

“With the new Power Unit package in this form, Formula 1 is again pioneering new technologies and this is important,” added Tost. (GP27)

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  • TheDudeson

    The spin doctors are making all the right noises but you have to believe behind the scenes there are some bigwigs unhappy with Renault’s state of un-readiness. Just hope they can wake up and catch up or 2014 is going to be a bore…

  • RBC

    I wonder if Torro Rosso and Caterham will save money by not having to pay Renault the full value of their engine deals. I wouldn’t pay until the engine works 100%.