Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has admitted that launching its 2012 car on the eve of the opening group test of the pre-season is not an ideal situation for the midfield operation.
As the sun set on Jerez on Monday evening (6 February), Toro Rosso became the eighth team to take the wraps off its latest F1 contender, unveiling the STR7 to an audience that had already witnessed launches by sister team Red Bull Racing and Sauber earlier in the day.
The STR7 is, as its name implies, the seventh car to bear the Toro Rosso name, and the third to be conceived and designed entirely in-house at Faenza and Bicester after the enforced technical divergence from RBR, but the Italian operation heads into the 2012 campaign with two comparative rookies behind the wheel.
Daniel Ricciardo completed half a season with HRT after being parachuted into Narain Karthikeyan's seat by Red Bull, while Jean-Eric Vergne is promoted from the role of reserve - a position he inherited from Ricciardo - after STR opted for a clean sheet of paper in terms of drivers, replacing Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.
Despite their inexperience, however, Tost admits that the team is more familiar with its drivers that it is with the machine it has spent the best part of nine months conceiving and building.
“A new car unveiled by two new drivers," he acknowledged as the covers came off the STR7, "The day before testing starts, we can claim to know more about the drivers than the car!
“We are looking forward to working with our rookie line-up of Daniel and Jean-Eric, both of whom are very talented young drivers. They are extremely committed and motivated and they are well acquainted with the team, having both run with us in Friday morning sessions in 2011.
"Daniel has the greater experience of the two, having competed in eleven grands prix with another team last season, but Jean-Eric also has the right background and apart from running with us in a few Friday sessions, he also tested with Red Bull Racing as recently as Abu Dhabi last year and has spent many useful hours in the simulator.
"It's too early to make predictions for the coming season although, clearly, our aim is to score more points and finish higher in the championship than in 2011."