Toro Rosso reckon fourth place is possible with Honda

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In the round-up: Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says his team can be ‘best of the rest’ behind the big three teams in 2018.

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Does Formula E’s new look signal the future direction for racing cars?

I’m really torn by this.

On one hand, I think the car looks incredible, and I think it’s really positive for the brand of Formula E, making it sexier and more visually striking.

On the other, the traditional tech head in me feels like there’s so much about this design which is nothing more than fancy greebling with no real aerodynamic purpose. Form doesn’t follow function. Which doesn’t really matter since all the cars are identical, but I think it generates a slightly false expectation – some will look at this and ask, why do F1 cars all look so unpleasant when a fast racing car can look like this?

So I think for Formula E this is great, but I’d hate to see other categories change themselves to follow this kind of aesthetic.

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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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40 comments on “Toro Rosso reckon fourth place is possible with Honda”

  1. Thinking nearly ten years on from Max Mosley’s ‘budget cap’ proposal which was thrown out by the teams in fear of a ‘two-tier’ F1…

    Quite ironic how we now hear of the need for a budget cap, as the sport has essentially turned in to a ‘two-tier’ championship.

    I was always a fan of Max’s proposal. To me, it satisfied the big spenders who wanted to focus on their front wing elements and winglets, while giving smaller and/or efficient teams room to be creative on a budget.

    The only issue with it all was the manufacturers, who probably would have been turned off at the lack of engine development, ironically something we’re lumbered with now.

    Would have been incredibly interesting to see how it all played out, but are few things are relatively certain:
    *More privateer teams joining F1
    *A more level playing field

    1. I dont think a “budget cap” is realistic.

      Teams are can buy their research from other companies. How do you regulated those prices without interfering with the laws in the common trade.

      I am sure they will figure something out, but the current system of penalties for replacement parts has done close to no impact on the spendings.

      What I find more interesting though, Why is no one looking into why Only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are willing to put up such a budget. Is the investment return not profitable for the other teams? They have the same marketing platform as the rest. Surely if Formula 1 was getting more and more viewers and in turn fans, the money would be a smaller problem in the end?

      1. Why is no one looking into why Only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are willing to put up such a budget.

        Part of the reason, or maybe even a lot of the reason why those teams have bigger budgets is because they get paid more by F1 for competing. The TV rights payout system has inconsistencies in it. Ferrari, Mercedes Red Bull, McLaren and Williams get payments on top of the payment for competing in F1 and the payment for their Constructor’s Championship results. Also Haas were also poorly paid last year.
        According to an Autosport article, the average team payout is $94M, while the average payment to Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull was $171M.
        Of course, that doesn’t mean those three teams actually use the full amount paid to them by F1, they may have to pay some of that to their parent corporation, or their parent corporation may supplement it.
        If you wish to do research on this you need to view the payout figures cautiously as some articles don’t have the correct figures in them. I believe this Autosport article has the correct figures in them:

        Surely if Formula 1 was getting more and more viewers and in turn fans, the money would be a smaller problem in the end?

        While there was an increase in F1 viewers last season (or at least that seems to be the suggestion in an article put out by F1), F1 seems to prefer the TV rights payments to large numbers of viewers, consequently it is common for viewers in many countries to have to access races via “the Pay wall”, which, as you can imagine, discourages viewers.

    2. @ecwdanselby, I would dispute whether your two assumptions are quite the “certainties” that you claim that they would have been.

      In the initial phases of the applications of teams in 2010, when the FIA was still considering the budget cap, a lot of the proposed entrants were rather spurious – such as the individuals who tried to enter a crowd funded team, or trying to enter under the old Brabham name (which only ended up with that group being hit with a “cease and desist” action from the Brabham family, which owns the rights to the Brabham marque).

      Even a great number of the proposed entries from apparently more serious entrants ended up falling apart. Epsilon Euskadi entered a bid, but went into liquidation only a few years later: Lola Cars also tried to enter, even though there were already whispers of problems in the world of sportscar racing, but by mid 2012 they went into administration and by October that year they shut down for good. Ironically, I believe that one party which did purchase some of Lola Cars’s old assets was Gene Haas’s racing team.

      Despite the prospect of a budget cap being in place, not that many of the outfits that applied to enter seem to have been economically viable to begin with. It therefore raises the question of whether there would have been any more credible entrants that might have wished to enter in the first place even if there was a budget cap.

      On the second point, it is also questionable whether it really would have levelled the field in the way that you might hope it would. The issue of financial transparency and questions about creative accounting would be a pervasive topic of debate, not to mention the thorny issue of how exactly to police spending if it were taking place within outfits that sat outside of the sport – some have raised the issue of internal technology sharing, such as at Mercedes and Ferrari, but would there be any independent oversight of third party organisations such as, say, Magnetti Marelli (which is a major component supplier to teams in F1)?

      Apart from that, a number of smaller teams have pointed out that, even excluding those issues, the larger teams still have the advantage of the legacy of investment that would have occurred before the cap kicked in – those assets would still be available to them, so it might not have as much of an impact on levelling performance as you think.

      Overall, it does feel a bit like the idea of a budget cap is one that might not be quite so simple to roll out and might not prove to be the panacea that some say it is. As others have also suggested, it does raise the question of whether the motive for Liberty Media is necessarily for “the good of the sport”, or a means by which they could argue for a reduction in the payments to the teams and increase their cut of the revenues (by arguing that they don’t need to pay the teams any more than a basic stipend to run the team).

  2. Re: Ben Hunt’s tweet

    Not sure this is F1 trumping Formula E with news, more a huge win for WEC. Heck they are even looking to change the calendar to include him at every race. I’m sure race organisers will do their best to accommodate possibly the biggest pull of crowds in terms of driver appearance for some years.

    Gen 2 Formula E car looks amazing by the way. Craig Scarborough recons the front wheel fairings and removal of the rear wing will make them even easier to follow meaning more close bumper-to-bumper (or bumper-to-huge diffuser in this case!) racing.

  3. Ah, so the same misplaced optimism follows whichever team partners Honda.

    Prove me wrong, I’ll gladly eat my words to get better racing.

    1. I think Tost is right and they can beat Force Whatever and William$. Not sure if it will happen in 2018 though.

      But he conveniently forgot the other two ‘bigger teams with much bigger financial resources’, McLaren & Renault.

      1. I think the hidden message here is exactly ‘oh, we can certainly beat McLaren with the PU they snubbed last year’. Just Tost doing some PR for Honda, nothing more…

    2. Even if the Honda engine delivers.. they still need two drivers who can compare with the competition.. not sure if that’s the case.

    3. Exactly what came to my mind too when reading that headline @phylyp! To be fair, STR has been saying they can finish 5th for 3 years now, never really coming close either, so now that dose of Honda-Optimism(TM) makes it only a small step to gun for fourth.

      Given that Mercedes and Ferrari are unlikely to suddenly mess up enough to finish behind STR, Red Bull would straight out arrange that situation to be changed (surely they would not allow their baby team to beat them even if they found they had built the car upside down), so that would mean STR beating FI (with better drivers, a better engine And experience of finishing 4th), McLaren (who now have a better too and have double the budget and better drivers), Renault (also better engine, better drivers and more money available).

      Not going to happen.

  4. Toro Rosso reckon fourth place is possible with Honda

    Snails can dream of flying.
    But i think they should run first.

    In the end, dreams do come true.

    1. @webtel Earth Dreams come true.

  5. What I find more interesting though, Why is no one looking into why Only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are willing to put up such a budget.

    Because they get that money just because…

    Cool video explaining that

    1. this was in response to @kelvin38

      1. So… If I were a mid range team.
        Got more sponsorships to develop a better car. I would get more money.

        Now we are back to my original question.

        1. Lennard Mascini (@)
          31st January 2018, 10:44

          Yeah, but why would a sponsor want to sponsor a team that’s not winning. Teams higher up the order get more attention, and sponsors pay a premium price for exposure (attention). If, let’s say, Petronas would stop their sponsoring of Mercedes and go and sponsor Force India, they would only do that if they didn’t have the budget for Mercedes or if Force India fit better with their brand image. Success attracts money and money attracts success. Rich teams get richer and poor teams get poorer (in general).

          1. That all makes sense.

            however if you are the transforming factor at Williams or Forceindia. Your brand would gain hugely.
            My point being, Petronas and Red bull is not the only companies out there.

            Let me clarify. Formula 1 is suppose to be the absolute pinnacle of motorsports.
            The TV Coverage and the events them selves should be a fantastic platform for sponsors to get their brand seen. There is also no regulation on only one main sponsor. We have seen horrible split designs before.

            Why is it that its not that attractive?

  6. Great point by @MazdaChris that true racing should not be led too much by aesthetics.
    What’s next; asking fans which driver should get an advantage?

  7. ”Toro Rosso can fight for fourth in 2018” – I highly doubt it. #InYourDreams

    1. They can and probably will.. if they will succeed is another question.

      1. erikje
        I’d be more worried about them scoring points at all this season, I fully expect them to have the slowest car. Can’t see them getting anywhere near Renault or McLaren unless they seriously screw up.

        Their only hopes of not finishing last are that a) Honda aren’t as bad as they seemed and b) Sauber’s Fiat paycheck came too late to affect their new car. Sauber also have the driver advantage with Leclerc onboard and Ericsson probably equal to or better than either of their drivers.

    2. @jerejj

      Well they do now have the power of dreams…

      Have to agree though. Both these drivers hardly have any experience in F1. And both of them didn’t really look anything special. I can’t say Toro Rosso have had the 4th best chassis in the past few years. Other than maybe at certain tracks. And then on top of that, unless Honda makes some huge turn around (which may be possible but unlikely), they will be about the worst engine on the grid. With the drivers included,the car and engine, I think the end result will be 8th in the championship at best. But possible that they could end up being last too.

      Even if Toro Rosso end up making their chassis one of the best, the drivers surprise us and Honda sort out their problems, I still think 4th is rather optimistic.

  8. “Toro Rosso reckon fourth place is possible with Honda!”
    But not possible with Gasly and Hartley!

  9. Snap back to reality Mr.Tost. You will be fighting for 9th place at best.

    I would think it’s a given that they will finish 2018 dead last, but if you want to appear positive to the press, at least keep it realistic and say you’ll be fighting to keep Sauber behind.

    1. I think he could be a bit better than 9th @todfod, although it depends on the Honda to keep running at least.

      Sauber still has a lot of work to do on their chassis, even if the engine will surely give them a huge boost and Leclerc can be expected to give us some ace driving. Hard to count on Williams finally making a good chassis again, even if Lowe will be working hard on that with all the money from Stroll and Sirotkin, and both drivers would have to make a step in consistency. Haas should be expected to make another step forward, but it will be hard for them to really get to the level a Force India, Renault and McLaren is working at.

      Altogether, I think it’s realistic to see them fighting for 7-8th position if the Honda builds on the reliability they had end of the year and finds some steps to improve the engine power, especially the hybrid elements.

      1. @bascb – but can Haas take a proper step forward? They are not a true constructor so the question really is can Dallara take a step forward? My belief is that Haas will now be held back by Dallara’s lack of F1 development experience and of course, it all has to be paid for. “Yes Mr Haas, we can go faster, how much money you got?” They might start off 2018 a bit feisty but they’ll tail off quickly I think mainly because the true F1 constructors have more resources and can react quicker.

        1. I get what you are saying there @baron. But the way I see it, Haas has lost about half the opportunities they did have last year from messing around with their brakes. Surely then, with that issue solved, the can build on the 2 years of experience they now have and ace their setup more often and make better predictions about develpment routes.

          That alone should mean a step forward, even if Dallara is not going to bring anything special (I agree we shouldn’t expect too much from them)

  10. Fun thing about STR is that they are one of the 4 manufacturing teams since they will solely work with Honda. It is fun because not even their big sister RBR has that “luxury”, I wouldn’t be as optimistic as Tost however.

    There is no doubt that Honda was the biggest setback at McLaren these past few years, but some question marks remain (for me) over that relationship. It will be interesting to see how they work together with STR, which might have a more laid back approach and definitely less pressure, which was what costed Honda so much (get it?)

    Reading through the article, Tost focus more on what they should aim for regarding their budget and other variants, such as the McLaren transition to Renault and the most expected improvements from the Renault works team. He actually does not aim to be 4th, actually: “We must be within the top five once more, it’s the same story as in 2017” and does not speak about Honda and what they expect from them, he just speaks as a team (already an improvement hey?).

    The headline is therefore a bit misleading, Tost is optimistic, yes, but from the article what he says has some sense to it, not just the idea they will be 4th because Honda made massive improvements (some might go there with such a headline)

    1. Only STR did not finish in the top 5 last year either. Nor the year before that @johnmilk! Maybe if we see how they kept targetting 5th while finishing 7th, his real target now is 6th?

      But even that seems optimistic, because they would have to beat not one but two of Renault, McLaren and FI. And off course not drop behind a Sauber that now has a better engine again, a Haas who now have their brakes sorted and more experienced drivers& team and also hope that Lowe does not deliver a good Williams, what with all the money available from both Stroll and Sirotkin.

      YEah, and the drivers would have to deliver, something that can only be a big questionmark, since neither ever got the chance to get some serious F1 mileage under their belts nor had any real stress on them (since they could hardly be expected to achieve much with the lack of experience and the heaps of technical issues).

      I think they should be happy if they have a shot at retaining 7th place, while it’s not unlikely they will end up with the red lantern unless Honda seriously raises its game.

      1. @bascb just stating what Tost said! They didn’t finish 5th last year but was their goal nonetheless

        I was just pointing out the headline is misleading, and Tost addresses more in the article and what they should achieve.

    2. Well.. Before pre season testing, Mclaren said they were expecting to fight for race wins in 2017. They probably set their benchmark at 3rd in the WCC. They ended up in 9th.

      Now we have Toro Rosso fighting for top 5 in the WCC with Honda power. I’m expecting them to finish 10th in the championship.

    3. I know one thing, if they let toxic Marco anywhere near the STR/Honda deal, Honda will look back at their time with McLaren as ‘playtime’.

  11. I really would question what Williams mean by saying Sirotkin was the best driver available. Best in what aspect? To suit their circumstances and wanting more funding? Massa said he wanted to stay and based on his performance last year, I see no chance that Sirotkin will be a “better” choice performance wise than a very experienced Massa. From when you hear team radio, I often think Massa shows his experience by the detailed feedback he provides. This to be would have been another benefit to keepign him. I do think the only reason they didn’t keep Massa was because he was wanting more money than they were willing to give him plus his sponsors maybe weren’t giving Williams the money they wanted. But I only can assume Sirotkin was the best driver available because of his funds and sponsors. I can’t see a rookie being better than Massa was on the whole last year. Simply because of that fact I still think Massa was pretty good last year was the main reasons why I didn’t rate Williams as one of the worst line ups. Stroll overall was very poor with one or 2 very good moments though. But now Williams have kept Stoll and paired him up with a rookie, this really doesn’t look like a good line up. But I really hope Sirotkin shows he’s got what it takes to deserve to be in F1 as well as Stroll making a significant improvement on his debut season.

    1. I think you pretty much got it there @thegianthogweed.

      Massa was not an option, because they couldn’t (weren’t willing) to spend the money on his salary (Brazillian sponsorship has all but dried up with their economic downturn).
      Kubica had too many questionmarks hanging over him, and not quite enough money behind him to be their pick. Sirotkin seems to be fast, has promise (if he can be consistent and leave out mistakes), and according to Renault was very solid with testing feedback, topped off with bringing the budget boost that might enable Löwe to build a good car again.

      Stroll seems to have already mentioned that he hopes for a solid step up, since the tyre compounds for this season are promised to be less fickle (interview in buildup of Daytona 24h I think), so I share your hope that he will show us more of the good (Monza, Baku etc) and less of the bad. Sirotkin did show promise in GP2, if he can hold it together, he might show that in F1 too.

    2. @thegianthogweed Why not read the article to see what he meant?

    3. @thegianthogweed I would also give shout-outs to Wehrlein and Giovinazzi. These two should absolutely have had F1 drives in 2018

      1. I can possibly agree with Wehrlein as I certainly think he does deserve to be in F1. But I don’t think he was close to Massa last year. And to be fair, he didn’t look a huge amount better in terms of performance than Ericsson who is regarded by many as one of the worst on the grid. Since Williams did consider him, I get the feeling that they will have thought he wasn’t good enough.

        Regarding Giovinazzi, I’m unsure about how deserving of a drive he is. He had a decent debut, but we couldn’t really compare him to Ericsson as he got knocked out of the race in the first corner. His 2nd weekend was terrible. A crash in qualifying and a crash in the race in pretty much the same place. And then I think he has crashed in most occasions he has appeared in the practice sessions last year too. I’m not saying he wouldn’t get better, but I think Wehrlein looked a fair bit more promising than him.

        1. @thegianthogweed He only crashed in Budapest and most of those have come in mixed conditions. Stepping up from F3 to GP2 and finishing within reach of your more experienced and highly rated teammate is really impressive. He shouldn’t be counted out just for a handful of crashes. After all, you can teach a driver to be safe, you can’t teach them to be quick (especially at this level).

  12. While Ralf Schumacher never grew on me, it really seems that his son David might be a better bet to make it than Mick Schumacher. Those first couple of races in the middle east were a good show of talent from him.

    1. early days.
      his European karting career (year) hasn’t that impressive yet.

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