Q & A with STR's Franz Tost

Conducted and provided by the Toro Rosso press office

Q & A with STR's Franz Tost

Q. Franz, how does Toro Rosso at the start of the 2009 season compare with the start of 2008?

Franz Tost: This year is already looking great as we are five races ahead of schedule, given that last year we did not get to race the '08 car until the sixth round of the season - in Monaco! But seriously, with the continued support of Red Bull, Scuderia Toro Rosso has grown in several ways in the past 12 months. The team is bigger, having expanded its facility in Faenza and we have taken on more staff.

The 2008 season was good in terms of our on-track performance, which, it's fair to say, exceeded our expectations, with our biggest ever haul of points, a pole position and a win. It's going to be tough to live up to that this year. While the rules have changed, within the team we can rely on a good level of stability, as all the key players on the technical side have been in place for some time now and so understand how to make progress.

The other element of our package that remains the same is the support we receive from Red Bull Technology. And right from Red Bull Racing's first test in Jerez it appeared that the car was competitive straight away and that Adrian Newey and his team had come up with a very promising package. The car looks good and shows very promising performance.

This year marks the third year of our collaboration with Ferrari, which, on both a human and technical level, works very well and it goes without saying that having an engine that won the 2008 constructors' world championship can only be a good thing. As for our driver pairing, in 2008 we effectively started the season with two F1 novices, but this time, Bourdais has 18 grands prix under his belt, and this year's rookie, Buemi, has shown well in winter testing.

Q. How will the rule changes, technical and sporting, affect the team?

FT: At Toro Rosso, we support the cost-cutting initiatives instigated by the FIA and FOTA. These are a good thing for a small team like ours, as for example, the reduction in the use of wind tunnel time and Computational Fluid Dynamics has had a minimal effect on our work. In terms of manpower, it means we have not had to let many people go, allocating test team staff to other roles within the company.

As everyone feels the effects of a worldwide recession, it is only right that Formula One is seen to acknowledge this and act accordingly, to allow the sport to flourish in a more sensible and less extravagant fashion than in the past.

Looking at the major changes to the technical regulations, these do have a downside for us, because historically, whenever rules have changed significantly, it is always the bigger, more established teams who have the technical resources and experience to react quickly in adapting to those changes. It was the long period of stability in the rules which allowed Toro Rosso to be so competitive last year.

Q. Your driver line-up?

FT: I mentioned the benefit of consistency in our technical line-up and we also have a level of consistency in our driver line-up, as Sebastien Bourdais tackles his second season in Scuderia Toro Rosso colours. In 2008, he produced some good performances in the races and in qualifying, but he was also unlucky at times. We expect him to benefit from the experience he gained last year: he knows the team, the circuits and the F1 environment and this will allow him to tackle the season with confidence. He will also surely enjoy the return to slick tyres, which better suit his driving style.

As for the other driver, Sebastien Buemi, who comes from the Red Bull Young Driver programme, he has shown himself to be naturally talented with plenty of speed and, more importantly he is a quick learner. Having invested in his early career Red Bull is keen to see him progress at the top level of the sport. He faces a steep learning curve, but we should not forget he is still very young - he even makes Vettel look like a veteran!

Q. What are the team's targets for the year?

FT: All race teams should have the same targets: to win every race they enter! Of course, this is not going to happen and even matching our 2008 showing will be difficult, as the sport enters a new era. Therefore our target has to be to leave every race track on a Sunday night, knowing we have done the best job we could. The results will then depend on how everyone else has done.

shares
comments
Toro Rosso reveal the new STR4

Previous article

Toro Rosso reveal the new STR4

Next article

Ascanelli: STR4 not a rebadged RB5

Ascanelli: STR4 not a rebadged RB5
Load comments
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021