Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team principal, Franz Tost has challenged the Faenza-based team to push to finish fourth in the 2018 Formula 1 World Constructors’ Championship.
Toro Rosso will switch from Renault Sport power units to Honda for the 2018 season after the McLaren F1 Team ended a tumultuous three-year stint with the Japanese manufacturer, with Renault subsequently supplying McLaren, in what is effectively a swap deal.
Alluding to the superior financial resources of the big three teams of F1, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, Tost believes that a sensible target for Toro Rosso is ‘to be within the top five once more.’
“Look, the first three positions are gone, forget it, this is another league and another world because they have much bigger financial resources and are much bigger teams,” Tost explained to Racer.
“But then from position four onwards, everything is possible because (Sahara) Force India is running with a similar budget to us, Williams (Martini Racing) as well. Regarding Williams and Force India at this stage – I don’t know what they will achieve this winter and they might suddenly find £100 million in sponsorship.
“But we are working at a similar level and there shouldn’t be any excuses from our side not to be close to them. To beat them is another question, but to be up there.”
Despite Tost’s optimistic outlook for the Toro Rosso-Honda partnership, the battle to finish fourth will be closer, as the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team and McLaren are both expected to improve on their respective 2017 campaigns.
“I expect that McLaren will become quite competitive as well and Renault will make a step forwards,” said Tost.
“But it means from position four onwards, everything is possible. Once more we have to build a good car, a competitive car and we have the ingredients together to fight for a successful season.”
Toro Rosso goes into the 2018 season with two relatively new drivers, with a combined total of nine Grands Prix worth of experience between Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley.