James Key says he is 'not happy' with the return on Toro Rosso's step forward in overall pace this season, saying the team hasn't made the most of its opportunities.

Having courted headlines by signing rookie pairing Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen, the latter of which became the youngest driver to start a race at 17 years-old, Toro Rosso has enjoyed a notable step up in competitiveness this year despite the drivers' relative experience.

Nonetheless, Toro Rosso remains only eighth in the constructors' standings after various opportunities to score points went by the wayside, most notably due to reliability, penalties and a handful of incidents, such as Verstappen's collision with Romain Grosjean in Monaco.

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With this in mind, technical director Key admits there is frustration about Toro Rosso's position given it has shown strong mid-field pace from the start of the year.

"I think there's still more to do. We're not happy with the points we've scored so far, there have been missed opportunities so far this year for various reasons. So we're not maximizing our abilities right now, that's the first step we have to make in the short term.

"Longer term you just have to keep chipping away. At the end of the day your performance is all relative to everyone else, so you can do the same thing and find you've taken a step or not. So we've got to set ourselves some ambitious targets for next year and chip away at that.

"We have got lots of little things in the background to try to help us on the operational side, on the production side, take that a step further and so on. It's a continuation of the process really."