Scuderia Toro Rosso took the wraps off the new STR8 on Monday evening, with team boss Franz Tost declaring the squad is gunning for sixth place in the 2013 F1 Constructors' championship.
Red Bull's sister squad struggled in 2012 with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne combining to score just 26 points, leaving STR down in ninth in the team rankings and ahead of only Caterham, Marussia and the now defunct HRT F1 team.
However, while the driving line-up remains unchanged for 2013, the new car is the work of a 'changed' and 'strengthened' technical team, and Tost is optimistic about what can be achieved with the STR8, the first car to be designed by a group led by chief designer Luca Furbatto and overseen by James Key, who has been the team's technical director since last September.
“F1 is approaching a new era, specifically in 2014, and, at Toro Rosso, we have already made significant changes to our structure both in terms of manpower and facilities, to be ready for that. We believe the changes made will also help in the short term for this coming season and, combined with the fact that Daniel and Jean-Eric are more experienced, now that they have a season with us under their belts, we start winter testing in a mood of justified optimism,” Tost said.
“We will be expecting more from our drivers' this year as they both tackle their second full season of F1. However, we are well aware it is up to us to provide them with a car that's capable of allowing them to show their undoubted talent.
“After taking part in the sport's longest ever season in 2012, every team now knows just how tough a task faces us all again, even if at the moment, there are only 19 races on the calendar
“We have worked hard and hopefully done a good job these past months and the three test sessions in Spain in February will begin to reveal some trends among the teams, but until we all line up on a real race grid, there will be no clear picture of what we can expect.
“Nevertheless, we have set ourselves a target of finishing sixth in the Constructors' classification.”
So what changes have taken place over the winter?
“Stability is usually seen as a good attribute for a F1 team, however there are times when changes are required and, as Scuderia Toro Rosso prepares for its eighth season of Grand Prix racing, there is something of a new look to our team,” Tost continued.
“In terms of the Faenza facility itself, our newest building, known as STR3 is now fully operational and home to our composites department, which is equipped with the very latest technology and, more importantly, staffed with highly qualified people. Being able to produce more and more of our car in-house is a great asset, as it gives us total control over quality and deadlines, which is vital if we want to move up the order in the pit lane.