Carlos Sainz says he can't wait to commence pre-season testing and aim to unleash the full performance potential from his STR12 for the 2017 F1 season.

Having endured a frustrating 2016 with year-old Ferrari power units Sainz was seen to have overachieved in an underpowered car compared to his rivals with three sixth place finishes in Spain, the USA and Brazil respectively to take 12th place in the final drivers' championship.

Despite Toro Rosso announcing its return to Renault power for 2017 at last year's Monaco Grand Prix, while the branding has remained a secret until its team launch next week, with an engine parity against its competitors the Spanish driver is relishing his chance to climb the grid.

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"For us, every year driving the car is an incredible pleasure: the seat, the pedals, the feeling from the brake, the steering wheel. Every car has its tricks and you want to see how it is going to behave," Sainz said to Marca. "Then yes, you get into your bubble and start to try things.

"The cars are getting better, but in particular, this year F1 will take a giant step forward in terms of performance: much larger tyres, much higher levels of downforce. When I get into the car I'll have a bit more of an itch because I know that the car is going to run much faster."

Sainz will be alongside Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat at the team's 2017 launch at Circuit de Catalunya on the 26th February - one day before the opening pre-season test at the Spanish track.

Toro Rosso is rumoured to be ready to unveil a refreshed race livery for 2017 which is tipped to step away from its traditional purple, red and gold colours to be a predominately blue and silver look.

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