Toro Rosso technical director Giorgio Ascanelli insists the team can be happy with its season to date after Jaime Alguersuari's eighth place finish in Valencia enabled the team to score for the fifth time this season.
The team went into the new campaign looking to improve on its ninth place finish last year, when it was the final team to score championship points and finished ahead of only the three newcomers to the grid.
Having already bettered its tally of 13 points scored in 2010, Toro Rosso currently sit ahead of both Force India and Williams in the standings and Ascanelli said it was a performance the team had to be pleased with.
“I believe that, in terms of all aspects of what makes up a Formula 1 team, we are at a level that you would expect from the ninth team,” he said. “However, our avowed target for 2011 is to finish eighth and currently, we are seventh in the Constructors' classification. So we have to be happy with that, even if it is going to be difficult to maintain it for the rest of the season. The fact we are seventh does not mean we are performing better than our planned 'road map' because although we have got plenty of things right, our position also owes something to other teams sometimes getting it wrong.”
The team will hope to maintain its solid start to the season at Silverstone next time out but Ascanelli admitted it was hard to predict what may happen in the British Grand Prix with Toro Rosso on a different upgrade schedule to a number of its rivals.
“By introducing some significant updates in Valencia, we are probably out of phase with the majority of British teams who will no doubt be having a big push for the race at Silverstone,” he said. “That had some influence on the fact that Jaime was able to finish so many places higher than he started on Sunday in Valencia. Sébastien's performance was also good, if less apparent, because we have just discovered that he picked up a large piece of debris on his car, which caused significant loss of downforce for half the race. Nevertheless, he still made up four places by the end of the race, running a three stop strategy like the majority of cars, whereas Jaime's result owed something to his two stop strategy.
“I hope we can perform well. However, we have already played our two major hands in terms of car development while, as I said, I think the English teams will produce a mighty effort for this race and when a man with a pistol meets a man with a rifle, the man with the pistol is a dead man! So we need to be very clever to get the most out of our package.
“There will be some very small things at Silverstone and some of the following races. Apart from that, the Italian Grand Prix will see changes to the car simply because Monza is such a unique circuit that we need to dedicate some attention to it. After that, our focus really has to shift to STR7 or we will not have a car for next year.”