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Toro Rosso expects Caterham battle
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost expects Caterham to join the midfield battle this season.
After two years in Formula One, Caterham (formerly Lotus) has comfortably established itself as the quickest of the newer teams but has been unable to fully bridge the gap to the midfield. Toro Rosso unveiled its new STR7 on Monday, and with testing getting underway Tost said that the target was to improve on its performance last season, but warned a fresh challenge would come from Caterham.
"The main competitors are Sauber, Force India and Caterham," Tost said. "These are the main competitors. Our target is seventh place. We must do better than last year when we finished in eighth position and to target this we want to finish seventh, sixth if possible, but seventh is the target.
"Caterham, they have now also built up a good infrastructure. They have the Renault engine and, as far as I know, the KERS from Red Bull. That means their package from the technical side is quite strong. They have two experienced drivers and I expect them to become a competitor this year."
Technical director Giorgio Ascanelli said that the team had tried to build on the strengths of the previous car, with the double-floor and sculpted sidepods an obvious area of focus.
"The concept proved itself favourable and, with the time that we spent [on it] last year, we thought we'd evolve the concept and try to exaggerate it a little bit," he said. "We have raised the sidepod and we have increased the undercut in the sidepod more than what it was last year. This required a movement of some of the radiators, mainly for the gearbox and hydraulics, away from where they were last year."
With the exit points of the exhausts now restricted by the regulations, Ascanelli added that the team hadn't looked to benefit aerodynamically from the exhausts because it didn't have the capacity to do so.
"At the moment the exhausts are designed for the best engine performance we could do, they are not designed for aerodynamic we can get. Why is that? Because our simulation capacity is limited in the area of the exhaust. The area of improvement that can be gained from the exhaust system is very difficult to predict with our systems. I don't have a problem in displaying my ignorance because of this. I think last year we enjoyed a very good performance at some circuits and not as good a performance at some other circuits, just because of that."