Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says poor results in the latter stages of the season were due to weaknesses with the car rather than Honda power unit performance.
Partnering for the first time in 2018, Toro Rosso and Honda got off to a strong start with fourth place in the Bahrain Grand Prix, and a major Honda update in Japan also raised expectations after both cars started from the top seven. However, the team failed to score in the race at Suzuka and picked up just three points from the final eight rounds of the season, something Tost says was car-related.
“From my side there was no fear (ahead of 2018), because for me Honda was already much better than people thought last year and fortunately I was right when I said that I expect a reasonably good season with Honda,” Tost (pictured below) told RACER. “Of course it would never be easy because there’s a lot of research and development to be done. But in the end, regarding Honda we achieved the goals. The problems we have currently, it’s not on the power unit side, it’s on the car side.
“We need to improve the performance of the car. We are not so happy with the aerodynamic side and we also have to do something on the mechanical side — we know this and I hope that we will go in the right direction.
“We have to work on the aerodynamic side. We have to work on the car side, also the mechanical side, and get a better understanding of the tires, for the management of the tires. These will be the main topics for next season.”
While Tost sees some strengths he wants to protect in the car heading into 2019, he says changes have already been made internally to try and improve the team’s output, following the announcement in July that technical director James Key will join McLaren.
“On special racetracks like Bahrain, Monaco, Budapest — that mainly means slower racetracks with maximum downforce using the hypersoft tires — we showed a really good performance. These were the strengths and the highlights of the season.
“But we had also a couple of races where we didn’t show the performance which we expected. In the end I would say it was a balanced season but I’m not satisfied with the result of the season. I expected more and we have to improve our performance for next year. We reshuffled some departments in the company because we must show a better performance.”