Team Principal, Franz Tost gives us his thoughts on the coming season and our new car
“The STR 7 is the third car designed, produced and assembled entirely by Toro Rosso. Over those three years, we have increased our workforce from 160 to 300 and Toro Rosso is now in the most stable and strongest position since it was founded: apart from being up to strength in terms of personnel, we can also work from a sound financial basis, thanks to the support of Red Bull, with further backing from our sponsors, Cepsa, Nova Chemicals and Falcon Private Bank. Everything is therefore in place for us to move forward and reap the benefits of this stability on the race track.
“STR6 was a major step forward in terms of performance compared to the 2010 car, the STR5, therefore I expect to see a further improvement with this year’s car. Last year, we finished eighth in the Constructors’ championship and clearly we want to do better than that this time. It is far too early to make predictions, but looking at the work we have done over the winter, we must set ourselves the target of finishing sixth or at least seventh by the time we pack up in Brazil in November.
“We are looking forward to working with our rookie driver line-up of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, both of whom are very talented young drivers. They are extremely committed and motivated and they are well acquainted with the team, having both run with us in Friday morning sessions in 2011. Daniel has the greater experience of the two, having competed in 11 Grands Prix with another team last season, but Jean-Eric also has the right background and apart from running with us in a few Friday sessions, he also tested with Red Bull Racing as recently as Abu Dhabi last year and has spent many useful hours in the simulator.
“Last season produced some exciting battles and even though the championship titles were decided quite early, interest in F1 remained high to the end of the year, as can be seen from television viewing figures. There was plenty of on-track action, partly thanks to the rule changes introduced by the FIA and 2012 should be another thrilling year. I expect Red Bull Racing, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes will be very close at the front of the field and naturally, as part of the same family, we hope Red Bull Racing will again have the upper hand. No doubt, we will find ourselves fighting with our usual adversaries behind the top four. I am very happy there are 20 races on the calendar and I am looking forward to returning to race in the United States for the first time in many years. It looks like being a great year for Formula 1 and I hope for Scuderia Toro Rosso too.”
Seventh Heaven for Scuderia Toro Rosso?
This will be the seventh year that Scuderia Toro Rosso competes in the Formula 1 World Championship, since the team was created with a view to finding two extra cockpits for the stars of the future coming through the ranks of the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme. Seven years down the road, that is still very much the team’s raison d’etre, with a completely new driver line-up for 2012, featuring Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. Our Frenchman, Jean-Eric, is a genuine Formula 1 rookie, while our Australian with Italian roots, Daniel, has got eleven Grand Prix starts under his belt, having been out on loan to another team for part of the 2011 season. Training youngsters is an area where we have plenty of experience.
Finding sponsors in Formula 1 is never easy and keeping them can be even tougher, therefore it is gratifying that all three partners who came on board in 2011, Falcon Private Bank, Nova Chemicals and Cepsa – in the order in which they joined us – are still with us for a further season.
In terms of personnel and facilities, Scuderia Toro Rosso will still be punching above its weight, compared to the teams it is trying to beat in this year’s championship. However, STR7 is the third car to be designed and built in-house in Faenza, with vital input from the Bicester wind-tunnel crew. So there is an element of stability within the team, which is always a plus.
Stability is also a word one can apply to the technical regulations, with not too many changes and therefore the 2012 car has taken the best elements of the previous year’s machine and moved forward from there. Although Pirelli is making some changes to its tyres for this season, the Italian supplier is a known quantity now, after its 2011 debut, as is the DRS (drag reduction system) which our designers have fine tuned to deliver improved performance this year. Still on the theme of continuity, this is the sixth year that our horsepower comes courtesy of that other Italian outfit which calls itself a Scuderia, namely Ferrari. Time will tell if our seventh year sees Scuderia Toro Rosso in Seventh Heaven in 2012.
courtesy of www.scuderiatororosso.com