Toro Rosso STR14, 2019

Toro Rosso STR14: Technical analysis

2019 F1 season

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Toro Rosso has relied more heavily on parent team Red Bull for its 2019 F1 car design. Will that, plus an improving Honda power unit, help them climb up from last year’s ninth in the constructors’ championship?

In his first article for RaceFans, F1 technical expert Craig Scarborough (@Scarbs) analyses the Toro Rosso STR14.

Toro Rosso have been noted for their innovation in car design and for running an autonomous design team separate from Red Bull for the past 14 years.

With the release of its new car for 2019, the STR14 shows a shift in the balance between its innovation and independence, as the team adopts more ideas and hardware from Red Bull. Its STR14 reverts to some older suspension ideas, rivals’ sidepods concepts and the entire Red Bull Honda rear end.

Is there enough new on the Toro Rosso to win in the battle of the midfield?

What’s new?

Toro Rosso STR14 front wing and nose, 2019
Toro Rosso STR14 front wing and nose, 2019

Having run the Honda power unit in 2018, the team acted as an incubator for its sister team Red Bull Racing. Honda’s performance has been improving under the co-operation of Red Bull Technologies (the overarching technical operation for both teams).

Now both teams will run the Japanese power plant and the RBT gearbox package with it. This will be the first time Toro Rosso has adopted the full RBT rear end, having only run the gear cluster before. It will now race with the RBT gear cluster, casing and rear suspension. This means that much of the engineering at the back of the car is completed outside of Faenza, leaving the smaller Italian design office to focus on the front half of the car.

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Front suspension

With the launch images being just digital representations of the new car, care needs to be taken with the aero add-ons, but the structural changes are safer to accept as accurate details. One of the key changes from 2018 to 2019 is the front suspension, which has reverted to a pre-2016 layout for the wishbones, where they are mounted lower down.

For the last two years STR ran high-mounted wishbones, raised to aid aerodynamics under the car. These required the top wishbone to be mounted to the wheel via a swan-neck camber plate. This emerged through the brake duct and pivoted high above the wheel rim. With the wider wheels and tyres introduced in 2017 this set-up could still produce good geometry, as demonstrated by Mercedes who also ran this layout.

Now the wishbones are still mounted relatively high at the chassis, but slope down and meet the upright inside the wheel, without the need for the exposed mounting. The switch back for 2018 is not driven by regulation, so the change will either be aero or tyre related.

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Sidepods

Toro Rosso STR14, 2019
Toro Rosso STR14, 2019

Being a more restricted in resources than the top teams, last year’s late addition of the Halo diverted resources from other aspects of chassis design and as a result the STR13 ran conventional sidepod inlets. It has been increasingly attractive to repackage this area to gain downforce from better airflow over the diffuser, a direction Ferrari led in 2017, which was followed by Haas, Williams and Red Bull last year.

This change in sidepod design – termed a high-top sidepod – repackages not just the sidepod, but the side impact spars within the sidepod front. The side-mounted crash tubes must be fitted within a small height window. The sidepod bodywork is also capped to a maximum height. Together, the sidepod inlet must dodge the side impact spar and still fit under the maximum bodywork height.

Ferrari found that by lowering the upper side impact spar and moving the inlet above it, filling the maximum allowable height, there is not only good airflow into the sidepod, but the undercut created below the inlet could be larger. This pushes airflow down around the sidepod, over the floor to the diffuser, creating more downforce.

Toro Rosso have now followed this high top sidepod concept, with a neat forward-facing inlet, which has extra vanes formed around it to direct airflow into and around the sidepod.

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Mirrors and vanes

Allied to the change in the sidepod packaging, new rules for mirrors and bargeboards have led to some new aero solutions for the sidepod area.

The rear-view mirrors now need to be mounted further from the cockpit, to give the driver a better rearward view, and are limited to two mountings. Each of the STR14’s mirrors are therefore in the new regulatory position, with the two mounts are manipulated to not just support the mirror pod, but to form aero surfaces. Particularly with the inner mount spanning across to the cockpit area, which is then used as an aero device to direct airflow over the sidepod top.

One feature on the mirrors missing from last year are the vented pods, which was another concept copied from Ferrari. Toro Rosso adopted these mid-season in 2018, as the air being ducted through the mirror housing was found to reduce drag and direct airflow downstream more accurately. These may be fitted to the car in testing, but it raises the question of whether this style of mirrors is still legal within the new rules.

[smr2018test]

Also in this area, the array of vertical vanes mounted to the sidepod last year are restricted in height for 2019. Thus, the car was presented with a single vane mounted high enough rearwards to be at the full height. What’s unusual is that the single vane is mounted to the edge of the sidepod with a simple horizontal vane. This is a clean and neat solution, but as with the un-detailed floor-edge and bargeboards seen on the launch images, they are likely to become a lot more complex as the car gets to race. With the simplified front wings, it’s these areas that will be increasingly used to control the airflow along the car until they are likely to be banned for 2021.

Honda

Toro Rosso STR14, 2019
Toro Rosso STR14, 2019

From its disastrous re-entry to F1 four years ago, the manufacturer has come a long way with power, reliability and packaging. 2018 was still a public test programme, with the inevitable power unit failures, but when compared to Renault, the RA618H was a close match. Even from the start of testing on 2018 it was clear Honda with the Red Bull as partner was an improving offering.

Its fair to say that Toro Rosso won’t have a chassis and power unit to match Mercedes or Ferrari, but its battle is in the midfield with the Renault and customer Mercedes units. Even with its evolution, the Honda remains a tidy power unit package, with its split turbo and reasonable cooling demands. It’s more than possible that the Honda package has been tidied with the Red Bull design team changing layouts to suit chassis and aero requirements. These details and their effects that will be interesting, as McLaren’s ‘size zero’ demands hampered Honda’s original power unit concepts and Red Bull have been uncompromising with ERS packaging in the past.

Last year Toro Rosso kept the twin intercooler package raced since these new turbo engines came into F1 in 2014, so a revised cooling package inside the impressively small sidepods is likely this year, given the resources freed up by the Red Bull partnership.

Red Bull package

Toro Rosso STR14, 2019
Toro Rosso STR14, 2019
There’s two effects to the new Red Bull listed parts agreement, firstly being tied to aspects of the rear end design from the RB15, then the resources being freed up with the design office at Faenza to do other things.

The first could be seen as a positive or a negative, taking the entire Honda and Red Bull rear end, fixes Toro Rosso to a lot of predetermined factors, rear suspension geometry, wheelbase and even rear wing mount design. With good communication, cooperation and the success of the Red Bull Racing package, on balance this must seen as a good thing for the team.

This means a big chunk of the cars packaging is supplied by RBT, this means that from front to rear they will be supplied, the battery and control electronics package that sits in a recess under the fuel tank. Then the Honda engine itself, with any Red Bull-led packaging changes.

At the rear the Red Bull rear carbon fibre casing, which houses the gearbox and rear suspension. What constitutes the rear suspension isn’t clear at the stage, there’s the mounting points moulded into the casing, the wishbones and driveshafts, the outer upright and then the inner working of rockers/dampers/springs.

Where the demarcation between RBT and Toro Rosso lies will only be evident when the see the car stripped down in Melbourne. Beyond the gearbox case, the rear impact structure has to be an Toro Rosso design by regulation, while the rear wing mounting point is fixed into the gearbox design.

Video: Toro Rosso STR14 revealed

2019 F1 season

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Author information

Craig Scarborough
Craig Scarborough is RaceFans' new technical contributor for 2019....

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

32 comments on “Toro Rosso STR14: Technical analysis”

  1. “Scarbs” on RF? Holy moly, that’s awesome!

    1. Great news that Scarbs is writing for RaceFans. Welcome and great first article

    2. Came to say this, awesome @scarbs !!

    3. @phylyp My thoughts exactly :D :D

    4. Yup, same feeling!

  2. Epic addition to Racefans! Well done, team!

  3. Craig Scarborough is RaceFans’ new technical contributor for 2019

    Wow, great news. And welcom Craig.

    1. Superb news – to see Scarbs article here! RaceFans and Scarbs are the go-to “places” for my F1 needs. Hope this collab is fruitful!

  4. Two big names back-to-back years…nice!

  5. Awesome news that Scarbs is now a racefans contributor!

  6. What a coup, Keith! Welcome Scarbs

  7. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    12th February 2019, 10:55

    Nice one, another great addition to the RaceFans team!
    Welcome @scarbs !!!

  8. Great news for RaceFans, welcome @Scarbs!

  9. This is amazing. No doubt this is the #1 F1 site now!!!

  10. Well, as everyone else has said, fantastic expansion of the F1Fanat…. erm I mean RaceFans team. Excellent stuff.

  11. Fantastic. Warm welcome @Scarbs!

  12. Another great addition to RF.

  13. Awesome! Absolutely my favourite F1 technical analyst! Launch week is looking even better!

  14. Scarbs on Racefans, what a lovely news – and a nice analysis! I wonder if the supposed similarities between STR and Red Bull car is voluntary to be able to gather more data at first and eventually diverge if everything looks ok.

  15. I know these is just a render and the real car is going to be different, but what happened to the rain light mounted on the rear wing? I thought it was mandatory for this year and there’s no sign of it in this nor in the Renault

  16. What a coup, Keith! Welcome Scarbs

    1. Feeling happier every day that I contribute to this platform

  17. Welcome to Racefans @scarbs

  18. This site keeps getting better and better!

  19. article for RaceFans, F1 technical expert Craig Scarborough

    Wow, as many here have said, welcome to F1F/RF @scarbs!

  20. Awesome writeup – thanks Craig & Keith! What a great month so far.

  21. I honestly think @Scarbs is the best addition you could have. Proud to be a RaceFans Supporter. I’m looking forward to read the technical analysis of the rest of the field

  22. Welcome to Racefans @scarbstech , I wholeheartedly agree with all here. The best analysis around the interwebs.

  23. Wrong about the McLaren forcing Honda into the size zero concept.
    Also wrong that Honda have shown signs of improvement, or that Red Bull have any influence over Honda engine design.

    Detecting some bias there which is never nice in a technical article.

  24. Hi @ScarbsTech!

    Do you know if the rear end of the RB15 went thru major modifications last year? If so, which iteration is the STR14 going to use?

    I can see Torro Rosso (sorry) running as a stable benchmark against which to gauge the main team’s progress/improvements along the year, but also giving the Italians some engineering margin to fight their own midfield fight, with that in mind it’d be interesting to know which suspension architecture they went with because it clears up the design options they could be taking in the future.

Comments are closed.