Key encouraged by Toro Rosso pace compared to Red Bull

James Key is encouraged by Toro Rosso's pace compared to Red Bull so far in 2017 - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

James Key has admitted he has been encouraged by Scuderia Toro Rosso’s performance compared to sister team Red Bull Racing, now that the two teams are running with the same engine.

Last year, Toro Rosso ran with a year-old Ferrari power unit, but the Faenza-based team reunited with Renault at the beginning of 2017, the same as Red Bull, and Carlos Sainz Jr was within three-tenths of a second of Daniel Ricciardo’s best time in Q1 during the recent Spanish Grand Prix.

Technical Director Key says it is heartening that the pace is close to that of the sister team, but they still have work to do in order to be truly at Red Bull’s speed.

“It basically shows you with the same engine what is possible to do,” said Key to “We’re further behind than we want to be, of course.

“Excluding the qualifying dramas that we had with both cars, because I think we didn’t quite get what we wanted out of either car in the end, if you looked at Q1 and Q2, it wasn’t so far away.

“So that was quite encouraging, that we were closer to them than we were before. I think we have made a bit of a step, but the car needs a lot of work still to maximise it.”