Toro Rosso today launched their 2013 car and are bullish about their chances for the new season (pun intended).
Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne took the covers off the STR8 ahead of their second seasons at the team as they both aim to finish in the top six for 2013. The exhaust area of the car remains effectively the same as the STR7 from 2012 and unlike their sister team Red Bull, the car makes use of the vanity panel to cover it’s stepped nose.
New technical director James Key, who is overseeing his first car at his new team, wasn’t afraid to back up their target for sixth in the championship.
“It’s a very ambitious target,” Key said, “but it’s right to be ambitious as well. Everyone in the team is very clear that we are not going to be happy with P8 or P9 and we’ve got to try and do more than that. There’s no harm in aiming high, it’s a really good motivator.”
The teams chief designer Luca Furbatto explained that a ‘new concept’ was taken for this years car and that a new ‘philosophy’ is in place over the 2012 model.
“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,” he said. “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.”
As both Vergne and Ricciardo prepare for another year ahead, they have been put on ‘notice’ by team boss Franz Tost, who has warned he expects more from both drivers in 2013.
“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,” he said. ““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.”
With the team not afraid to cut both drivers at the end of season, as they did with Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi in 2011, both Ricciardo and Vergne will no doubt take the threat seriously as they hope to push forward up the grid.
(Images copyright Sutton Images)