Toro Rosso aim to emulate 2008 success
|By Mark Glendenning and Pablo Elizalde||Monday, March 9th 2009, 15:49 GMT|
Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost is hopeful that the Italian squad will be able to enjoy similar success to last year, but he is aware they must stay realistic.
Toro Rosso scored their maiden Formula One victory last season, thanks to a dominant performance by Sebastian Vettel at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
The team, formerly Minardi, enjoyed their most successful season in grand prix racing, finishing in sixth position with 39 points.
As the team unveiled their STR4 car, Tost made it clear that their goal for the season is to have similar successes, but while keeping their feet on the ground.
"Normally you go to a race to win races, but we must be realistic," Tost told reporters at Barcelona. "Last year with Sebastian Vettel, I think Sebastian himself and also the team did a fantastic job. We also had a car with which you could win races.
"This year the cars are new and we hope we are prepared as well as possible and I hope that we will have similar successes to last year."
Sebastien Bourdais completed the first proper test with the STR4 today following a shakedown at the Adrian circuit last week, covering over 80 laps.
Tost said Toro Rosso were left encouraged by the car's early signs.
"So far I must say we are quite happy with the car," he added. "The car looks nice - normally a car which looks nice is also fast. And fortunately - I don't want to say too much, but from the reliability side it looks good because Sebastien did a lot of laps.
"And also with the set-up, we have already found some new steps forward, and I am convinced that after the four days testing here in Barcelona we will go - I don't want to say 'well-prepared', but quite prepared for Melbourne.
"And for the rest, we will see. If the basis of the car is good, and it looks like that - Adrian Newey and the team at Red Bull Technology have done a very good job - then it is easier to work out on the track. If the car doesn't work well then you are struggling. And we hopefully won't."
Tost revealed that, despite the credit crunch, the Faenza-based squad will be increasing their staff this year.
"We will add staff in the design department as well as the aerodynamic department, but all the rest of the departments are quite full with people. So this is fixed so far.
"Currently in Faenza we have 178 people, and at the end of the season, beginning of 2010, I assume we will have around 250 people.