Carlos Sainz says the revised STR10 chassis Toro Rosso brought to the final pre-season test in Spain is 'pretty much a new car', claiming it to be a significant step forward heading to the opening round.

Though most teams developed their cars over the course of the three tests, Toro Rosso caused a stir by bringing a visually different STR10 to the final test for drivers Sainz and Max Verstappen to drive.

Despite its late appearance in the test, Sainz was immediately positive about the machine, saying he felt it was quicker from the moment he headed out onto track.

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"To be clear, the car to be honest is pretty much a new car," he told Crash.net. "This car is in Test 3, the first lap gave me a very different feeling to the car in Test 1 and Test 2. Out of the box, you feel everything is better balanced.

"Everything is well put together, well fitted together and suddenly I had a confidence boost thanks to this, it was very easy to suddenly do a lap time. It was very easy and it feels more balanced, more downforce everywhere and it gives you a better feeling, which is key for the driver.

Though Sainz would only get two days in the car before he races it at the Australian Grand Prix opener, he supports Toro Rosso's decision to wait until the final test to give it its first track run.

"If they wanted to bring the car to Jerez, it means they would have had four weeks less to develop it, so probably the car wouldn't be as nice as it was here. In the end I don't really care that much because Test 1 and Test 2 was for me to get the feeling of an F1 car and the tyres, so to bring everything to Test 3 was perfect timing. I was ready to have a new car and better balance, a better car and it's gone quite well to be honest."