Pierre Gasly says a flawless pre-season Formula 1 testing programme at the start of Toro Rosso’s new partnership with Honda has resorted a feel-good factor for the Japanese manufacturer.

Gasly produced a trouble-free 169 laps in the Toro Rosso Honda STR13 on his final day of pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya and had enough time in hand to target a qualifying simulation in the final hour of track action. The French driver’s 1m 18.363s using the ultrasoft Pirelli tyres secured third place on the final timesheet just over a second off of Sebastain Vettel's new lap record at the Spanish circuit for Ferrari.

Gasly says the mood in the Italian team camp is rising with every day of untroubled testing and feels it is providing the Honda technicians with a much-needed boost after a tough three years back in F1 during its previous partnership with McLaren.

“I think everybody in the team has been working in the same direction and that’s super-important,” Gasly said. “There’s very good communication between the two parties, it’s been nice to see some of the Japanese technicians smile too.

“These are just the first two tests together, so when we’ll get into the season we’ll be able to work together even better.”

Gasly will hand over to teammate Brendon Hartley for the final day of F1 pre-season testing in Spain on Friday and is thrilled with the mileage and performance Toro Rosso Honda has established ahead of the 2018 F1 season opener later this month.

“We haven’t experienced a single issue with the engine, we’ve accumulated an enormous amount of laps, in spite of the bad conditions we had last week,” he said. “This week has been better, today I managed to complete 169 laps, so it was a really positive day.”

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