Franz Tost hopes common sense can prevail and pre-season testing can return to the Bahrain International Circuit in the future after a weather-affected 2018 testing programme at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this season.
One day was completely lost due to snow and extreme cold conditions, while the other three days of the first test were held in temperatures not representative to conditions likely to be seen during the season, leaving only four days of testing in more realistic conditions.
“After the weather related problems in the first test, we were quite lucky with the second test, as the air temperatures reached 20ºC and the track around 37ºC,” said Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team principal Tost.
“This gave the team the chance to learn a lot about the new car, the tyres and the set up. Nevertheless, I hope we will test in Bahrain in the future.”
As for Toro Rosso’s own progress during testing, Tost was pleased to see the relationship with Honda start in an extremely positive manner, with eight hundred and twenty-two laps across the eight days, and 3,826 kilometres covered between Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley.
“I have always said that the partnership with Honda will be very important for our team, as it gave us the possibility to start a new way of designing and developing this season’s car in real cooperation with a very strong engine manufacturer – this time effectively working together in order to improve the packaging in its totality,” said Tost.
“After completing the two pre-season tests here in Barcelona, I’m satisfied with what we have achieved, completing a total of 3,826 km in 8 days – in the end it was really 7 days due to bad weather during the first session of testing last week, which makes the result even better.”
Tost felt there was plenty of positive feedback from both Gasly and Hartley across the testing period, and aside from a few minor issues, there was near perfect reliability from the STR13, which gives everyone confidence heading into the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia later this month.
“It’s great to see that we have been able to perform at a decent level in terms of speed and reliability,” said Tost. “Honda has done a great job but, also from our side we have been able to provide our drivers with what seems to be an easy car to drive.
“Both Brendon and Pierre were able to give us a very valuable feedback during these days, accumulating lots of data, which we will now analyse to be at our best for the first race in Melbourne.
“I’m optimistic but cautious at the same time – there’s still a lot to do! I want to thank the team, Honda and the drivers, as we have done a very good job together. Let’s go racing now!”