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Tost: New rules tough on small teams

Franz TostScuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost believes that this year's raft of Formula One rule changes will make it harder for the Italian outfit to repeat their form of 2008.

STR finished sixth in last year's constructors' championship with 39 points and claimed their first victory in the Italian Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel.

But Tost has warned that adapting to the new rules will put the smaller teams on the grid on the back foot.

"With this major overhaul of the technical regulations, the bigger teams will be able to reach much quicker than us because we simply do not have the resources," Tost told autosport.com.

"If there is a problem with any of the new elements, the bigger teams can cope better than us. Small teams have a much easier time when there are no major changes and you have a technical status quo.

"History has shown that whenever there is a major change in the sport, the big teams react quickest, leaving the smaller ones to catch up. It is hard to say whether we can maintain or improve on what we achieved last year."

Tost was cautious about setting any performance targets for his team, especially with the Red Bull RB5-based STR4 not set to hit the track until March.

"Toro Rosso had a fantastic 2008 season, with the team improving all year long. At the moment, we are working as hard as possible to prepare for the coming season.

"A lot depends on how competitive our new car will be. And for 2009 there's a whole raft of new elements to take into consideration - the slick tyres, a different wheelbase, the KERS system and a completely new aero package.

"In all these cases, the drivers will have to work with their engineers to ensure that they are in harmony with the new car to get the maximum from the package available. This year, that will be a challenge for the most experienced drivers on the grid."

Toro Rosso will kick off their 2009 track activity at the Algarve circuit next week, with recently-confirmed race driver Sebastien Buemi driving a 2008 STR3.

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