Engine has held Toro Rosso back – Key

2017 F1 season

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Toro Rosso technical director James Key predicts Toro Rosso will make a breakthrough this year following their switch back to Renault power.

The team ran year-old Ferrari power units in 2016. But its new STR12, launched today in Spain, will have a current-specification engine this year.

Pictures: Toro Rosso launch their new car
“What Toro Rosso needs is stability with its power unit supply and a competitive engine,” said Key.

“If you look back at the last three years, through unfortunate circumstances we’ve always had a deficit on the power unit side. That has affected our performance and the number of points we’ve scored.”

“That has been frustrating because the aero guys have done a fantastic job with the chassis and we’ve improved a lot in other areas, operationally and in terms of our understanding of the tyres.”

“With the great turnaround we saw from Renault last year and a different approach and momentum that they’ve got now, hopefully this will be the best power unit we’ve ever hard in the hybrid era. For once we will have something that is much more competitive.”

Key added it was essential for the team to start the new season with two experienced drivers due to the change in regulations.

“Imagine if you had two rookies in the 2017 car,” he said. “You would have no reference points at all.”

“So on the power unit and driver side it’s positive, which just leaves the chassis as an unknown. We always set ourselves ambitious targets. In the past we have tended to push as hard as we can for the start of the season and then see what we can do, what we can afford, depending on where we are as time goes on. This year we are taking a more long-term view over the 20 races.”

“Our list of developments is bigger than usual, because we’ve left lots of possibilities in,” he added. “I suspect it will be a very busy year with plenty of performance still to be found.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Engine has held Toro Rosso back – Key”

  1. Finally a great looking RB livery. The other RB:s still looks like graffiti painting.

  2. In my opinion, considering the budget at their disposal, this is by far the best car of the grid.

  3. Best looking car on the grid! The new livery looks fantastic!’

  4. I think we’ll have to wait and see whether keeping Kvyat on is a positive or not.

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