February 4th, 2013 (F1plus/Briony Dixon).- A rainy Sunday at Monza in 2008 was the setting for Toro Rosso’s finest hour at the hands of now triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Following his promotion to Red Bull for the 2009 season, sister team Toro Rosso has spent the time since, building castles in the air in a bid to recapture those heady heights.
The 2012 season saw Toro Rosso trailing peers in the development fight, displaying performance figures superior only to the ‘new’ teams; a story reflected in their race pace as their updates were not sizeable enough to match competitors. Suffering from the restriction on exhaust blown diffusers for the 2012 season, technology that Toro Rosso had mastered successfully, the STR7 spent the season on the tails of the majority of the opposition. The only car to feature extensively undercut sidepods, the STR7 struggled to produce adequate downforce for effective racing at most circuits.
The pace of the drivers mirrored that of the performance and pace of the car. In 2013, Daniel Ricciardo and John Eric Vergne will be looking to prove their worth. Having been given a grace period due to their relative lack of experience, this season will be the year they will be expected to make a significant impact, and will need to deliver results for fear of attracting the wrath of Helmut Marko. The faith of both immersed in what lay beneath the shroud, as they stepped up to unveil the STR8 on the eve of the first test in Jerez.
The hopes and aspirations for a successful 2013 and ascension up the Championship table lay beneath a car shaped vision representing cloaked dreams. On removal of the cloak, eyes were initially drawn to the use of a full vanity panel giving the Toro Rosso 2013 challenger an instantly beautiful line from the nose up to the cockpit. Moving across to the sidepods, which have a gently sloping gradient giving more of a curve than was evident on the STR7. The heavily undercut feature of the sidepods on last year’s car is maintained, as is the push rod front suspension and the Semi Coanda exhaust system.
Will the appointment of James Key, who led the design team responsible for the successful Sauber C31 in 2012, have proved to have fortified the aero department at Toro Rosso guiding them back on the quest for technical stability? Considering they were significantly behind most competitors in terms of development last year, are there enough changes on the STR8 to catch the rest of the field. Will this be the year they stop chasing rainbows and reach the pot of gold?
Front, elevated view of the STR8.