Toro Rosso have taken the covers off their 2014 car – the STR9 – in the Jerez pit-lane, ahead of the first day of testing tomorrow.
The event was organised by CESPA, Toro Rosso’s long-time sponsors. 2014 drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat took the covers off the car which has been two years in the making.
With a raft of new technical regulations for the season ahead, it has been a tricky winter for teams up and down the pit-lane. As is the case with any new regulations, there have been many interpretations and Toro Rosso’s car features yet another take on the new crash structure on the nose of the car which has created much discussion. For Toro Rosso, they enter the season not just with a new driver (in the form of rookie Kvyat) and different regulations, but also with a new engine supplier having made the change from Ferrari to Renault.
“The new rules have required a completely new design philosophy, starting with a clean sheet of paper,” Team Principal Franz Tost explained. “Having invested in new staff and facilities over the past few years, we have been able to tackle the task of designing and building the STR9 with a group of engineers and designers that have been working on the project since day one, under the leadership of James Key. That stability has been of great benefit, while in other areas we hope that changes we have introduced will also bring a step up in performance”.
This will be Toro Rosso’s ninth year on the grid and they are looking to replicate the pole position and win that Sebastian Vettel gave them back in 2008. Having spent the past few years running as a lower mid-field team, they are hoping to move up the order in 2014.
“What role Toro Rosso will play, it’s too early to tell and even harder than usual to make any predictions,” Tost continued. “What I can say is that we must do better than in 2013 and move up the order”.
Frenchman Vergne is about to enter his third year in Formula One, having spent both 2012 and 2013 driving for Toro Rosso.
“This will be my third season in Formula One and I definitely feel better prepared than ever before,” he said. “From what I have seen in the factory, the same applies to the team. Now we must make the most of winter testing and work hard to ensure that all our efforts pay off”.
“I am confident we have what we need to do well,” he continued. “From a driver’s point of view, we will have a lot of new elements to understand and changes that will require us to adapt as quickly as possible. That will be one of the tasks for winter tests, so that we can make the most of the package available right from the first race. We will have to adopt a different style of driving, especially in the races, with this new power unit combined with the need to manage fuel. The changes to the rule regarding levels of downforce will make the cars feel different, offering less grip, which will also take some getting used to. It’s going to be a fascinating start to the year!”
For Kvyat, it is a new challenge as he embarks on his rookie season in Formula One, stepping into the seat vacated by Daniel Ricciardo.
“I am very excited that I am about to start my first season in Formula One,” he revealed. “It will be a year of discovering many new things, which I expect will be very interesting. I can’t wait to actually start the driving part, the best part of my job!”
“Six days of winter testing is not a lot and I will have to see how quickly I get used to the new car,” he continued. “That wasn’t a big issue when I drove the 2013 car. Being a rookie means that there’s a steep learning curve, but the bright side of this year’s regulation change is that all the drivers will be getting used to a new way of driving, starting from zero. Anyway, I have always liked a big challenge. Physically, I feel ready after a good winter training programme, concentrating a bit on my neck muscles. The team hasn’t set me any specific targets, so its just a case of getting on top of my game as quickly as possible”.
Vergne will kick off the team’s testing tomorrow at Jerez.