Despite running the final 2015 Ferrari engine to power the STR-11 this season, Toro Rosso are confident that upgrades they have planned throughout the season will be enough to keep them in contention with the rest of the pack in 2016.
Though engine updates will be lacking, changes the Faenza-based squad plan on making to the chassis are where the Red Bull junior team believe they can make gains in performance.
Speaking to motorsport.com Franz Tost, Team Principal of Toro Rosso, advised:
“Of course, we simply ran out of time to optimise everything. The team around [technical director] James Key is already working on updates.”
“I’m quite convinced that during the season we will make some other steps forward with the car, which is necessary because as you know we are with the 2015 engine out there and that means we must be concentrated to improve the performance of the car.”
“I hope with two or three major upgrades we can achieve this.”
Due to the late decision to switch to Ferrari power from Renault during the winter, after sister team Red Bull had an unpleasant parting of ways with the French manufacture, the Austrian owned squad were left with little time to develop the car around the new PU, and were up against the clock to be ready in time for the start of the year. The use of a plain livery during pre-season testing showed just how close the squad were run, and the rush to be on the grid in Australia meant they had to compromise their design slightly in order to achieve their goal. The good news is they know this can be rectified and performance improved with further upgrades throughout the season.
“We know that we can improve the car, and we are working on this. But I think every team will say something similar.”
“They will come up with new modifications which will improve the performance of the car, so I think it’s the combination of everything a little bit. Of the car itself, of the experience of the drivers, the tyres and so on.”
With two highly talented, young and eager drivers in Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, I am sure we can expect plenty of fight from the Toro Rosso camp regardless.