Technical director Giorgio Ascanelli says Toro Rosso is targeting a step up the F1 pecking order with its new STR6 after the team launched its 2011 challenger in Valencia.
The STR6 will be the second car designed in house by the Italian team after it moved away from using chassis designed by Red Bull Technologies and the focus for the year ahead is on improving on the ninth place secured last year.
“Last year we didn't have a wind-tunnel, the CFD was not mature in order to define the car,” he said. “Therefore, we did not change very much apart from those elements linked to the change of regulation between 2009 and 2010. This year the tools which design the car in its performance aspect, which are again the wind tunnel and CFD, are more mature, which means that although we are still learning how to make the best of them I think we have started using them properly.
“For this year, we have to aim for eighth place, because that is our target and I didn't think that was possible if we had gone with some sort of conventional car. It's an ambitious way, if it doesn't work that will be my responsibility and I am going to take it, but I think it's not like me, not like Franz, not like anyone in Toro Rosso to sit here and accept what our position is. We will try to do better and we will try to fulfil our mission which is at the end of 2011, we want to have a 2012 which is better than 2011.”
Team boss Franz Tost agreed that a step forward in the standings has to be the aim for the year ahead and said Toro Rosso would benefit from the extra experience of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi going into 2011.
“It's the sixth season of Toro Rosso in Formula 1 and the past five years have shown a good history for the team, as we had to build everything up almost from zero,” he said. “We are quite confident that we have a good future and can have a good year in 2011. We are still building up our infrastructure. In a Formula 1 team, there is always movement, so you have to keep an eye on every department trying to improve performance. We brought in new people for example in the aerodynamic department in Bicester, where we are currently running two shifts in our wind tunnel. Here in Faenza, especially on the production side we have increased the number of employees which makes me quite confident that in 2011 we will have a successful season.
“Sebastien Buemi is in his third season with us, which means he should have the measure of the job and be experienced enough to race well, but it also depends on how good our car will be. Jaime Alguersuari is in his second full season and I also expect a performance increase from his side. If he continues like last year where he improved race by race, showing a really good performance towards the end of the season and if our car runs well, then I expect a good season closing the gap to the teams currently in front of us.”