Scuderia Toro Rosso has singled out improved early season reliability as its first goal if it is to maintain the promising end of year form it showed in recent months.

The Faenza operation has confirmed that it will be starting the 2008 Formula One campaign with the version of the STR2 that took points in Japan and China - although Tonio Liuzzi's eighth place at Fuji was later rescinded - before a definitive new model is introduced.

"We want to be permanently in the points next year," team principal Franz Tost told Austria's tirol.com, "We want to qualify at least in the region of eighth to twelfth and race in the vicinity of the points.

"Our goal is to get between 20-30 points towards the constructors' championship and establish ourselves as regular midfielders, although obviously, with six 'works' teams that will be tough."

Tost also admitted that, without the rain in Japan and mixed conditions in Shanghai, the team's eventual seventh spot in the teams' championship would not have been possible.

"On paper, it did not look as though we did that badly but, in reality, we got everything in one race, in the rain. Without the weather being favourable for us, we would not have finished where we did.

"Okay, in Canada, we gave away another fourth place and, at Fuji, [Sebastian] Vettel was lying third at the time of his accident [behind the safety car]. The fact is, however, that we must improve in many areas.

Refusing to be drawn on whether the team could yet move up should Renault be penalised for the latest twist in 2007's spy scandal, Tost identified reliability as the key focus for the start of 2008.

"We struggled repeatedly with technical defects - transmission problems, hydraulic problems and so on. This was much to do with the late completion the car and, if the car shows problems at the beginning of
the season, it is difficult to sort the problems in a short period of time, especially once you get into the two-week race rhythm of F1.

"Hopefully, this will not happen next season, as we will do the first four races with the existing car. The new car will follow after that, so we should be better prepared for the season. If problems should appear in the new car, we will have reaction time."

 

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