Toro Rosso today unveiled the STR8 in Jerez in preparation for the first day of winter testing in the Spanish city. Retaining the same driver line up as last year, the Italian based team hopes that this car will help push Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne closer to the front of the grid.
Pressure is on the two drivers to emulate the career of three time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel who, much like Ricciardo and Vergne, began his career at the team. If a step up to Red Bull is likely then the team will have to finish higher than last year’s 9th place.
The Team Principal himself referenced this pressure prior to the launch.
“Both drivers did a really good job last year, and I’m convinced if we supply them with a good car they’ll come up with surprise results.”
The launch began at 16.30pm (GMT) in sunny Jerez. Team Prinicpal Franz Tost began by welcoming the media who were poised, ready to take the first official pictures of the 2013 challenger. The Toro Rosso was unveiled just hours after the eagerly awaited Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton’s first car with the German outfit since his departure from McLaren in 2012.
The car itself fits the norm for 2013; the STR8 does not feature a stepped nose. Instead the team opted for a vanity cover which will act as an ascetic choice as well as an all important aerodynamic feature. Interestingly, this decision comes in spite of their sister team Red Bull’s decision to opt for a stepped nose. However continuity will still occur in the addition of the Ferrari engine for a seventh consecutive year.
The partnership between the two teams has weakened in the last few years; the team’s decision to adapt their car suggests greater independence for 2013.The car features an exhaust more synonymous with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes than the Red Bull. The side pods differ to last year’s; they are lower and under cut suggesting that differing aerodynamic devices are to be employed.
At the launch, Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, who was retained for a second year, described the car as “a beauty”. This confidence could prove key if the elusive Red Bull seat is to be his following the anticipated retirement of Mark Webber in the next few years. “We are ready for 2013” he continued. Tuesday will see the cars emerge for testing for the first time, then the real proof of this statement will emerge.
Caterham and Marussia will follow suit at the first day of testing on Tuesday. It is expected that Luis Razia will be announced as a replacement for Timo Glock whose absence this year will reflect difficult economic times for the team.
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