Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has stated his belief that people shouldn't be surprised by the recent strong form shown by his team, with a number of factors having come together to lift the team level with Williams in the Formula One constructors' championship.
The last two races in particular have seen the former Minardi-squad lift its game, with both Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel making it through to the final phase of qualifying in both Valencia and at Spa.
Vettel managed to bring his STR3 home in the points in the European Grand Prix, while both drivers finished inside the top eight at Spa – with Bourdais having been well placed for a podium place before slipping back in wet conditions on the final lap.
That lifted the team to joint seventh in the standings alongside Williams and ahead of Honda, but Tost said people shouldn't be shocked to see the Toro Rosso suddenly fighting for points on a regular basis.
"The main elements are fairly straightforward to identify and we can start with the STR3 car itself," he said. "Red Bull Technology has provided us with a very competitive car and the group around Adrian Newey has done a great job. The second element is the engine, as Ferrari has provided us not only with an excellent power unit but also a good group of people to run it with us. We are very happy with our arrangement with Maranello, which indeed is why we have recently extended our supply agreement with them.
"The third element and the one that is perhaps most obvious from the outside, is our driver pairing. We are happy with both of them: Vettel's performance and understanding of the demands of his job is increasing at an incredible rate, every time he gets in the car. He is still learning and improving race by race and as for Bourdais, after a difficult period, he too has stepped up a gear in the past few weeks, as could be seen from the fact that, until the very last lap in Belgium, he had out-performed his team-mate.
"On top of this, the team itself, both on the track and in our Faenza factory, has progressed in terms of the way everyone works together. The engineering group, working around Giorgio Ascanelli is doing a tremendously good job. They have developed an excellent understanding of our car, even though we did not get to race it until the Monaco GP. Giorgio and his team are getting the most out of the package. Put all these elements together and you have the reason for our 'overnight' success!"
The team will now hope to build on its strong recent form at Monza this weekend and Tost said the team was confident of a solid race on home soil.
"Monza is a track that suits us very well, in terms of our chassis and engine package," he said. "At the test there the week before Belgium, we experimented with a new front suspension which seems to bring a performance improvement and in general terms, race tracks with fast corners play to our strengths. Additionally, in Monza, the long straights will be favourable to us, thanks to the power of our Ferrari engine.
"The car seemed to work well over the kerbs during the test, although we will need to tune our set-up a bit during free practice. It's a delicate balance between softening the car to help it ride the kerbs, but not doing it too much, which upsets the aero balance in the quick corners. Put these elements together and I think we can approach this race with a degree of confidence."