Toro Rosso chief engineer Laurent Mekies has predicted a tight fight in the F1 midfield following the conclusion of pre-season testing in Spain.
The STR7 proved to be a solid performer in all three sessions held on Spanish soil, with Daniel Ricciardo setting the fourth best time during the final four days of running at Catalunya.
The Italian team goes into the new season eager to improve on its eighth place finish last season and while Mekies insisted Toro Rosso was moving in the right direction, he also conceded that things were going to be tight between the midfield teams during the year ahead.
“Looking at the twelve days of testing as a whole, we can say it has been an effective pre-season campaign,” he said. “We are moving in the right direction in terms of car development, which will be important, as it is going to be very tight in the mid-field and being at the front or the back of that group will be down to very small differences between the car packages.
“Our two drivers worked very well throughout the tests and, over the last two days in particular, we managed to complete a very high mileage with Daniel. Between now and taking to the track at Albert Park for FP1, we will be working hard looking at the data to make sure we are getting the most out of our current package. Everyone in the team is very eager to get to Melbourne now and start racing.”
Having been in action for the final day two days of pre-season, Ricciardo said he now couldn't wait for the 2012 season to start with his home race in Melbourne.
“I have done more running this week than at the previous two tests and we have learned a lot about our new car, enough to have a basis for the start of the season,” he said. “Personally, I found it very useful and I've got a clear understanding of the changes we have made these past few weeks and how the car reacts. Now I'm just looking forward to Melbourne – can't wait.”