Analysis: Toro Rosso aims high with new STR8 car

The new Toro Rosso STR8 is set for major aerodynamic changes as the year progresses after the team focused on mechanical improvements with its launch-spec car

Analysis: Toro Rosso aims high with new STR8 car

Technical director James Key admitted that the major differences between this year's machine and its predecessor are currently on the mechanical side, but that some fundamental concepts are being worked on for introduction later in the season.

Some of these parts will appear during pre-season testing, but major packages are planned once the season is underway.

"We have got some bits coming for the next test and the test after which will visibly change the car," said Key.

"We are working now on the future steps and we will evolve.

"We're already looking at different types of approaches in some areas, fundamentally different approaches that will eventually come to life later in the season."

Despite the relatively conservative aerodynamic step, Key is confident that the major leaps forward on the mechanical side will allow STR to improve at the start of the season.

"Mechanically is probably the best step that we've made even though aerodynamically it's immature," said Key.

"That, combined with the new tyres we've got, we have got pretty good opportunity of getting quite a bit more out of it.

"The suspension packaging and the way the suspension works is very different. It will open up a lot of things that we can do with this car that we couldn't do with STR7."

Key also explained the reasoning behind the team dropping the aggressive 'twin floor' design concept that it has used for the past two years, which is the one major changes to the car aerodynamically.

While the STR8 features an aggressive sidepod undercut, it was decided to follow the design trend favoured by its rival teams in recent years.

"We were the only team that was doing it," said Key. "I looked at it with my previous team and you could see what was going on, but it wasn't an obvious step change.

"We had the capacity to change it on this car, which was designed to allow us to go lower with the coolers and fill in that gap and we decided to go with it.

"What we saw with the STR7 was that it was drying up a bit and getting difficult to find more on the aero side, so making a step changes encourages new development directions."

AUTOSPORT SAYS
F1 editor Edd Straw

When team principal Franz Tost declared that Scuderia Toro Rosso's target for the 2013 season was to finish sixth in the constructors' championship, matching the achievement of the near-miraculous 2008 season when Sebastian Vettel claimed the team's sole victory, it was difficult not to be sceptical.

Last year, Toro Rosso finished ninth, 100 points behind sixth-placed Sauber and spent a decent proportion of the season firmly rooted to the back of the midfield pack. The team directly ahead of it - Williams - won a race on merit, just to underline just how big a step Toro Rosso needs to take.

Effectively, it needs to beat all of the teams that it realistically has the potential to. While things took a turn for the better in the final third of last season with regular points finishes, that's still a big gap to bridge.

There are some reasons to take it seriously, even if beating all of Williams, Sauber and Force India is a long shot. In James Key, it has a technical director with a proven track record after turning Sauber back into top half-dozen material.

His approach seems logical. Key grew up in Formula 1 working on the vehicle dynamics side at Jordan and the mechanical changes STR has made reflect his clear ideas of how to get the best out of the car and the tyres. The team is confident, therefore, that the far wider set-up window will automatically buy it some more points over last year.

One of the reasons why Giorgio Ascanelli was not looked upon as the future by the team's ownership was that the aerodynamic department working under him wasn't making as much progress as required. Cue a series of personnel changes, which inevitably has led to a certain lag between new blood coming in and the fruits of their labour.

When Key says to expect some major aerodynamic changes, there's every reason to believe him. It might not be until the start of the European season, or even later, that we see the true 2013 STR.

All of that might not add up to sixth place. But it will certainly equal a team on an upward trajectory, and that in itself is more important than achieving an arbitrary position in the constructors' championship.

Toro Rosso STR8 - full coverage:

Toro Rosso reveals its 2013 car
Toro Rosso STR8 in pictures
STR: Team not drivers under pressure
Analysis: STR aims high with new car

shares
comments
Toro Rosso insists it is under pressure, not Ricciardo and Vergne
Previous article

Toro Rosso insists it is under pressure, not Ricciardo and Vergne

Next article

F1's top 10 winter testing shocks

F1's top 10 winter testing shocks
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Plus

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Why the future is bright for the British GP Plus

Why the future is bright for the British GP

It wasn’t so long ago the situation looked bleak at Silverstone with the future of the British Grand Prix under threat. But a transformation has seen it restored to one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar, with bigger and better to come

Formula 1
Jul 1, 2022
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Plus

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Plus

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Formula 1
Jun 27, 2022
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022