Toro Rosso had to make certain sacrifices this season that will benefit the team in future, according to team principal Franz Tost.
The start of 2017 saw Toro Rosso targeting fifth place in the constructors’ championship having switched to the current specification Renault power unit after using year-old Ferrari engines in the previous season. However, as part of a complex web of deals that will now see the team partner with Honda next year, Carlos Sainz was allowed to join Renault ahead of the United States Grand Prix and the team ended up with an all-new line-up of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley for the final three races.
Asked if Toro Rosso had to sacrifice the best chance of getting fifth place, Tost told RACER: “To a certain extent, yes.
“Up to the middle of the season we were quite close to fifth place – sometimes we were in fifth position but in the second half of the season we struggled a lot with incidents, with reliability problems, and apart from Singapore we started each race with at least one car at the back of the grid.
“With newcomers with this package that we currently have – which is not the best one – it’s difficult to overtake others and finish within the points.”
Tost admits it was a tough season for him to manage, with Daniil Kvyat (middle, below, with Tost, left, and Sainz) also being dropped from Toro Rosso to allow Gasly and Hartley preparation time for next year.
“Of course it was not easy to handle everything in a proper way because we lost Carlos as a compensation because of the Honda deal. Then we decided to take another driver because of Daniil, which means generally speaking we started with two new drivers, inexperienced Formula 1 drivers. But in the end I think it was a good decision because we gave them the possibility to learn Formula 1 in general and to get used to the car, to get used to the team and to be better prepared for the next season.
“F1 now is really very complex and complicated to understand everything and use everything in the best possible way. What I mean by that is the usage of the power unit and the management of the tires, it is not an easy task. So therefore it was really important to have a couple of races with them.”