Brendon Hartley feels Toro Rosso’s pace in Mexico looks “really promising” after charging to sixth place in FP2 on Friday, having used the team’s updated Formula 1 aerodynamic package for the first time.

Toro Rosso debuted an updated front wing, floor and bargeboards on its STR13 car in practice for the United States Grand Prix last week on Pierre Gasly’s car. Gasly opted against using the parts for qualifying or the race, having failed to grow comfortable with them during FP3 after losing two dry sessions to rain.

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Hartley was given the chance to run the new parts in Mexico on Friday, and delivered a glowing review, feeling they fitted well to his driving style.

“I tested the new aero kit today which Pierre tested in Austin. I’m really optimistic about this,” Hartley said.

“In simulation it’s really small numbers. There’s a drag penalty there, we’re talking half a tenth or so in terms of how much quicker in simulation it is. But the other side of it is the balance through the corners on what it’s meant to be giving us is exactly what I’ve been asking for all season.

“Pierre and I have very different driving styles, and what I require is sometimes very different. Sometimes it can hurt me, sometimes it can benefit me, but this aero kit is in the direction of what I’ve been asking for all season. I’m excited about it from that point of view.

“There’s still a bit to be tested, but today it looks really promising, and P6 seemed pretty genuine.”

Asked if he would be keeping the updated parts on his car for the remainder of the race weekend in Mexico, Hartley said: “I hope so. Obviously it helps if Pierre’s starting off the back, there’s not too much discussion.” Gasly was hit with a grid penalty on Friday following power unit and gearbox changes.

“A lot of the balance shift that it comes with in terms of aero through corner balance is exactly what I’ve been looking for all season,” Hartley added.

“I’ve been quite excited about it, even from Austin, even if the car didn’t run it and wasn’t so happy with the balance, but I’ve been really excited to get it on the car here.

“I think the team did a good job to extract more and more potential out of it, understanding where to put ride heights and set the car up around it.

“I think it was a really good day, but need to continue it on tomorrow.”

Gasly said that he does not expect to get the updated aero package back until the next race in Brazil, by when the team will have another made.

“Austin was kind of difficult because I just ran with it in FP3, and it’s like all aero upgrades, you need to understand how to use it,” Gasly said.

“In Austin we didn’t really have any clear gains but I think people really understood in which direction to use it and FP1 the same, they did some more testing, and in FP2 again they changed a couple of things and now it seems to really bring the gains that it was supposed to bring.

“It’s just a shame we didn’t find it in Austin but it’s like this. Now it’s Brendon’s turn this weekend, and then we should get the package in Brazil as well.”

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