Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost insists that the squad improved during the 2014 F1 season, despite missing its intended championship target.

Although it opted to run rookie - and direct GP3 graduate - Daniil Kvyat alongside Jean-Eric Vergne following Daniel Ricciardo's promotion to the Red Bull Racing team, Toro Rosso still aimed high, looking to move up two places over its 2013 constructors' championship standing but, although it fell one spot short of that goal, Tost maintains that it had still been a positive season.

"If we look at our targets for the year, we had intended to finish at least sixth in the Constructors' championship and we didn't hit this one, ending up seventh but we can be reasonably pleased with having made a big step forward compared to previous years," he commented.

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Vergne and Kvyat tallied 22 and eight points respectively, the Russian having scored on his F1 debut in Australia, but STR trailed sixth-placed Force India by a massive 125 points, hampered in part by early problems with the Renault engine.

"Pre-season testing was extremely disappointing," Tost confirmed, "Reliability problems meant the STR9 only did half the mileage of that covered by the Mercedes-powered cars and that put us at a big disadvantage for the start of the season.

"Nevertheless, once the races began, we performed fairly well, with a particularly encouraging opening round in Melbourne, where JEV finished eighth and Daniil ninth, making him the youngest driver to ever score points in F1.

"The major change to the regulations meant that a high retirement rate was expected, however, such is the high level of technology in F1, that the actual numbers across the entire field were fewer than predicted. At Toro Rosso, we actually made progress on the reliability front over the course of the year, as can be seen from the figures.

"From 38 race starts, we posted ten DNFs, but nine of them came in the first ten races, up to the German Grand Prix. One was down to a collision, five were due to a Toro Rosso problem, with the remaining four being related to the power unit. Jean-Eric actually completed all races from Austria onwards. This means the general trend in terms of reliability was positive and it's something we must carry forward into 2015."

Off the track, Tost is happy with the progress being made at Faenza, where the team continues to grow and improve its processes.

"We made progress with our working practices," he confirmed, "The STR9 was the best car designed and manufactured by Toro Rosso so far - we made a big step forward. All the upgrades we introduced, such as those in Melbourne, Austria, Singapore and Japan worked well and, on the fabrication side, we also made progress. The parts were of better quality and they fitted together much better, so well done to the different departments, we are working in the right direction."

Toro Rosso will return with the youngest ever F1 line-up in 2015, having opted to run the all-rookie partnership of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr following Kvyat's promotion to replace Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull and the decision to release Vergne after three seasons.