Ascanelli: STR4 not a rebadged RB5
|By Jonathan Noble
||Monday, March 9th 2009, 07:30 GMT
Scuderia Toro Rosso's technical director Giorgio Ascanelli insists his team's new STR4 is not simply a rebadged Red Bull Racing RB5.
Although the cars of both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing are designed by Red Bull Technology in Milton Keynes, Ascanelli says his team have had to put in a significant effort to repackage the car around his team's Ferrari engines.
"Red Bull Technology does extremely significant work in defining the essential characteristics of the new car: its length, wheelbase, weight distribution, its basic metric characteristics," said Ascanelli.
"However, with any F1 car, the packaging revolves around an engine and peculiarities from the drivers and, as we run a different engine to our sister team, it involves a different fuel system and fuel tank. Therefore, ours is completely different to the Red Bull Racing car and is designed here by us.
"The same goes for the water and oil systems linked to the engine. Different engines have different heat rejection and different operating temperatures, with materials specified to different levels.
"Also, the tolerances, which you have to respect when building an engine, are tuned in such a way that an engine works at its best within a defined temperature range. This in itself conditions the radiators and also all of the internal aerodynamics. That then impacts on the aero side and this work is also done in Faenza.
"The engine mates to a gearbox via some fixings and a clutch. Here again the clutch installation is completely different between the two cars. In fact, the clutch itself is very different and the work of installing clutch and gearbox is also completely done in Faenza, involving a casing designed in Faenza and using completely different technology to the one Red Bull Technology provides to Red Bull Racing. The same goes for the oil and water radiators and the entire hydraulic and electronic systems."
Team manager Gianfranco Fantuzzi added: "If you take parts manufactured in the factory or purchased directly by us, almost 100 per cent of the car is made in-house. Our procurement department processes 14,000 drawings, including those for car components, jigs, tooling, assembly and so on.
"At first, we decided to make a few parts in our own composites department, but for the first time ever, we have now made the actual chassis in-house, whereas last year it was produced by Carbotec in Austria. This has been a big challenge for us and the chassis took up 100 percent of our energy up to the start of the season."
Toro Rosso are having to gear up to design their own car from scratch for 2010, with their exemption to use a 'customer car' running out at the end of this year.
Ascanelli believes that the efforts the team already put in place to produce their car will prepare them well, although he concedes their staffing levels are way behind other teams.
"It's going to be an interesting season," he said. "I think it's good that the guys here in Faenza get the chance to control their own destiny in a way, but at the moment, we only have about a dozen people on the design side, so we're a decade out in terms of manpower!"