Toro Rosso's STR8 revealed (just) prior to pre-season testing - Team VVV

News Toro Rosso’s STR8 revealed (just) prior to pre-season testing


James Allen


Posted on

RBR's already unveiled it's new offering, the RB9, so now it's the turn of Toro Rosso to reveal to the world the "Baby Bull": the STR8.

On face value, there's very little to differentiate the new car with the one it replaces: much like it's sister team Red Bull, Toro Rosso appears to have taken a more evolutionary approach to the design of the STR8.

As far as changes go, what appears to be one of only a handful of major mechanical modofications is the adoption of a 'double floor configuration', which has raised the height of the sidepods.

And, whilst this will have an affect on the car's overall top speed – last year's STR7 was comfortably one of the fastest 2012 F1 cars in a straight line – it should be countered by revisions that have been made to the aerodynamic qualities around the sidepods, which should – we're told – play a part in improving overall downforce.

The STR8 also has a semi-coanda style exhaust system that was previewed on last year's Toro Rosso during the latter half of the season.

Perhaps Toro Rosso's biggest technical asset, though, isn't the car itself: the team's technical director is now James Key, who was fundamental behind the design of last year's highly competitive Sauber.

With Key on board, the team therefore seem to have pretty high targets for their new car: despite finishing last year as statistically the worst team out of the nine that were able to score championship points in 2012, the STR8 is expected to be enough to nab the Italian outfit sixth place in the 2013 F1 Constructors' Championship.

First impressions of the STR8

2012 was by no means the year to remember for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Despite some impresive drives from Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, especially at the start of the season, finishing just 26 points ahead of Caterham, Marussia and HRT isn't exactly something that's worth writing home about.

As a result, it's certainly understandable that the team desperately want to up their game for this year.

Whether or not such a huge jump in championship places is possible, though, is up to debate. The gap from ninth to sixth will always be a big one, no matter what the point regulations are, and – with the new DRS zone rules during qualifying coming into place in 2013 – the STR8 won't quite have the top speed advantage that it's predecessor had.

But the leap isn't impossible: Williams went from the doldrums of 2011 to a race win last year, courtesy of Pastor Maldonado's magnificent drive at Catalunya, and the success of Sauber in 2012 is surely at least a beacon of hope for, if you can get the set-up and the package right, a mid-field car can challenge for good points, podiums and even race wins, dependent on the circumstances.

And, with the subtle improvements that have been made to the STR8 this year, there's always the chance that Ricciardo and Vergne will have a worthy tool at their disposal.

At this early stage, without any hard evidence of race pace to go on, we'll hold our final judgement for now. Toro Rosso could surprise us all next year, but their aims can also be a case of being over-ambitions, and biting off more than they can chew.

It'll be interesting to see which way the Toro Rosso story goes this year.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x