Reliability main focus for Toro Rosso during first week of testing


MONTMELO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 27: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 on track during day one of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 27, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images). Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Scuderia Toro Rosso have advised they will be focusing primarily on getting laps on the board rather than out and out speed during the first week of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, which got underway today.

Following a problem with the energy recovery system on the Renault power unit at a filming day in Misano last week, which forced the Faenza based squad to bring an early end to their event when no immediate resolution could be found, Toro Rosso were only able to complete a few laps of the 100km allowed.

Renault have produced an all new concept engine this season, one that they feel will bring 0.3 seconds per lap gains, but already unreliability has reared its ugly head, before the new season has even begun.

Despite that early glitch however, driver Carlos Sainz Jr is not overly concerned with a reoccurrence during testing, as he advised Autosport.com recently.

“I don’t think we can be concerned from a filming day.

“During a filming day, you do pictures and filming and we managed to do all the pictures and all the filming, so we accomplished our objectives for that day.

“Hopefully [on Monday] we can have no issue and cover kilometres as this is the first week of testing.

“I will be looking more at the lap count than the lap time itself.

“This first week, we need to be patient and understand the new regs.”

Technical Director James Key echoed the Spaniards comments, confirming that their programme in this first week of testing would be geared towards reliability and getting used to the new wider tyres for 2017, before switching tack to performance in the second week.

Key would not comment on the issues the team experienced in Misano, but did speak positively about the latest specification Renault engine, which Toro Rosso have switched to in 2017 having used year old Scuderia Ferrari engines last year, a decision that held them back come the end of the season, with updates off the cards.

“It was a sigh of relief really, Renault has done a great job.

“It’s all relative – Mercedes seem very confident as well at the moment.

“They’ve done an outstanding job and seem to be confident, so we’ll have to see where we are relative to them.

“It’s difficult to tell with Honda and Ferrari at the moment, that picture I guess will emerge over the next couple of months, but for us it’s a great leap forward.

“It’s great working with Renault again actually – they’re in good shape at the moment.

“We’re looking forward to a developing engine. That’s something we’ve missed the last two years.”

Toro Rosso have always been strong in the chassis department, and they will be hoping that having gone back to the Renault power unit, they will now have a good quality engine to match that in 2017.