Verstappen 'expecting a second per lap' from Ferrari engine
Max Verstappen says he is anticipating 'a big step' for the Toro Rosso team in 2016 on the back of its switch to Ferrari power, anticipating a gain of a second per lap as a result.
The Dutchman, who made history by becoming the youngest person to start and score in an F1 race last year, will enter into his second season with the Toro Rosso team in an unchanged driver line-up alongside Carlos Sainz.
New for 2016, however, will be the power unit, with Toro Rosso ditching the unloved Renault engine in favour of a 2015-specification Ferrari unit.
Though the more 'dated' power unit is potentially inferior to that of the engines being supplied to fellow Ferrari customers Sauber and newcomers Haas F1, Verstappen still believes it will be superior to that of the Renault engine it is replacing.
Tipping the Ferrari unit to be one second per lap faster than its Renault counterpart, Verstappen believes that once the unit is coupled to the chassis, Toro Rosso stands to make the biggest gain over the winter period.
“Things are looking good,” he said on his personal website. “Of course you always aim to improve the car but the first signs do look promising. The STR10 was already very good in fast corners, so I'm looking forward what this year's car brings.”
“The Ferrari engine is probably the biggest step. I'm expecting a lot from it. A big gain on the engine front makes everything a lot easier. I expect to gain about a second a lap because of engine performance alone, which is a lot. So I think we can make bigger steps then our close rivals.”
Though Toro Rosso's Ferrari deal was pre-empted by parent company Red Bull's dwindling relationship with Renault, the sister outfit will team up with the French firm again in 2016, albeit running the power units under TAG-Heuer branding.