Brendon Hartley says Toro Rosso’s lacklustre performance at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix has left the team “craving” a new upgrade.
Toro Rosso had high hopes heading to Singapore following strong performances in recent years – including Carlos Sainz’s fourth place finish in 2017 – but the Faenza squad failed to record a point in what ultimately proved to be a disappointing weekend.
The team has not boasted a significant upgrade since the Austrian Grand Prix in July, though Honda's Spec-3 power unit upgrade is scheduled to be introduced in the coming races, possibly as early as the Russian Grand Prix at the end of the month.
“We haven’t had an update for a long time, it seems like the other teams have improved a bit more than us,” Hartley admitted.
“The last update we brought, which was Austria, didn’t bring us much performance. That was a long time ago, so we are definitely craving another update.
“There’s one from Honda and from Toro Rosso on the cards coming soon. It’s not a power sensitive track and we haven’t been pointing the finger at Honda regardless.
“Monza was a reasonably competitive outing for us and showed that we were right in that midfield scrap.”
Hartley was baffled by Toro Rosso’s struggles on the Hypersoft compound, particularly during qualifying as he failed to progress from Q1, while teammate Pierre Gasly could only manage the 15th-fastest time.
The result left Hartley frustrated as he felt Toro Rosso had “talked a big game” heading into the weekend.
“I don’t know if other teams have done a better job than us but it definitely seemed that on Ultrasofts we were relatively more competitive than we were on the Hypers,” the Kiwi said. “[It’s] hard to say right at the moment.”
Toro Rosso has favoured a philosophy of introducing bigger upgrades at certain races as oppose to bringing lots of small updates to every race like many of its midfield rivals.
“I think it’s partly because our update in Austria didn’t bring the performance we needed,” he explained. “That kind of asked a few questions for the ongoing development and they are working really hard to resolve that.
“There’s been a lot of changes over the winter months with Honda and new staff and aerodynamics, so I think we are going to be reaping the benefits later in the season but I think no one is hiding the fact the update didn’t work in Austria.”