Toro Rosso technical director James Key says his team will be chasing “several issues” during the 2018 season as it takes a step-by-step approach to improving car performance.
Last year saw Toro Rosso launch with a competitive car, scoring double points in the opening race in Australia and repeating the feat at round five in Spain. However, relative performance dropped off the longer the season went on and Key admits there were some fundamental changes required on the chassis ahead of 2018 which will not be an instant fix.
“I think we’ve got work to do,” Key told RACER. “It’s all relative in the end. We don’t know what the competition have done so I think it’s always dangerous to underestimate what your competitors are doing, so you’ve always got to aim higher than even you think is necessary because it’s an incredibly competitive situation with new regulations in particular.
“And the changes we’re seeing as well, Renault did a good job of their development last year, they’re a bigger team now, they’re better supported than they were in past years. McLaren recovered very well, Force India put a very strong performance in, and so on. So all of that needs to be considered when you’re moving forward, but it would be very difficult to tell exactly where those guys will be.
“So I think for where we are I would say we’ve still got work to do. We’ve made some good gains in certain areas, certainly some of the fundamentals on the chassis side that we weren’t happy with with the 2017 car we’ve addressed.
“I think there’s more work to do in some of the basic performance steps we need to make but we have a plan for that and it will be a step-by-step approach. It’s a long season now and we are going to take a bit of a step-by-step approach with our development because there are several issues still to resolve, but we’re certainly making good progress towards resolving them.”
Toro Rosso’s new car hit the track for the first time at Mugello on Wednesday, with the team shaking down its Honda-powered chassis on a filming day ahead of the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Monday.