• Pre-season Testing

Toro Rosso woes resolved

Dan Knutson at Circuit Ricardo Tormo
February 2, 2010
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost is convinced the team have Monday's gear box problems fixed © Sutton Images
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Sebastien Buemi has completed more than 40 laps two hours into the second day of testing at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo. The day before, during the initial shakedown of the new Toro Rosso STR5, he turned only 18 laps.

"Yesterday we struggled a little bit with the gearbox, but the team and Giorgio Ascanelli [technical director] fixed it," said Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. "Today we have done a good number of laps so far, and the first impression of the car is quite positive."

With customer cars banned in 2010, Scuderia Toro Rosso has had to design its own car without the help from Red Bull that it had in the past. It is a daunting task in one way, but Toro Rosso had already started the process.

"It was a process that started already one-and-a-half-years ago," Tost said. "In 2008 we already fabricated a monocoque in house in Faenza and started to build up the design office. We also designed the environment of the engine and gearbox ourselves because we always ran the Ferrari engine and Red Bull was always using the Renault engine.

"Therefore, this was not such a great step forward. But nevertheless we had to bring in new people. We increased the number of employees in all the areas, not only the design department but also the aerodynamic department and from the manufacturing side. We bought a couple of new machines and can now make all the patterns in house."

Ascanelli expected a number of teething problems with the new car, so he planned to get it on the test track as soon as possible rather than delaying to perfect the design like Red Bull and Force India.

While the STR5 is a new car, it draws on the design of last year's racing-winning Red Bull RB5 and sister car the STR4.

"We are blessed with a good design," Ascanelli said. "There is no question that Red Bull last year was a very good car. So that helped us this year. The second point is that we did quite a lot last year in terms of systems, like cooling, electronics, fuel tank, and so what we learned last year we can use this year."

Tost said that Toro Rosso is aiming to finish eighth in the constructors' championship this year.

"It is still an ongoing process," he said. "To build up a F1 team is not something you can do from one day to the next day. It takes time. You have to bring in new people. For sure we need another one or two years before we can reach a certain level."

Buemi said he needs more laps in the new STR5 before he can really get a feel for the car's potential. "It's a bit too early to get an impression of what the car is like, especially those elements affected by the rule changes," he said Monday.