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 six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022