Driver Changes had ‘Big Impact’ on Toro Rosso Performance, says Tost

by Paul Hensby

Franz Tost admitted ending the 2017 Formula 1 season with a completely different driver line-up than they started with was far from ideal, particularly as they were battling hard to retain sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship from the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team.

Scuderia Toro Rosso began the year with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat on board, but the Spaniard headed to Renault ahead of the United States Grand Prix, whilst the Russian was released from the Red Bull programme altogether at the conclusion of the same race, with the team then running Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley across the final rounds of the season.

Team Principal Tost admitted changing the driver line-up mid-season had a big impact on the team, and it ultimately meant they slipped behind Renault in the championship thanks to Nico Hülkenberg’s sixth place finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“We see from other teams that to be successful a certain proportion of stability is crucial,” said Tost to the official Formula 1 website. “This is a luxury we hardly ever had – particularly not this season.

“To change two drivers during a season is hard to swallow, as it has a big impact on the performance of the team.”

After seeing that sixth place slip out of their hands in the final round, Tost admitted the team lacked in the development side in the second half of the season, and coupled with the dreadful end-of-year reliability and subsequent grid penalties, they were always on the back foot trying to defend their position.

“We are still above ground!” said Tost. “That’s because we had a very good start into the season, a very successful first half – either we were in P5 in the constructors’ championship, or pretty close.

“But then came the second half – and that was a different matter. We weren’t as competitive as expected – for different reasons, one of them being the departure of Carlos (Sainz). That didn’t really help.

“But also the car development side was not as planned, as we didn’t make the steps that others did in the same time. And then, of course, all the reliability issues.

“Other than Singapore, we always had one car at the back of the grid – and that is never helpful if your plan is to score points!”

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