Toro Rosso Target Force India and Williams in 2017

Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Contributor

With an up-to-date power unit in the back of the STR12, Toro Rosso are expecting to beat Force India and Williams in 2017 as team principal Franz Tost targets 5th in the standings.

The Faenza-based squad have come a long way since its takeover of the Minardi team was fulfilled over a decade ago. The team have gradually crept up the order whilst servings their purpose as a feeder team to the senior Red Bull Racing. The 2016 season was a tale of two halves. The team were incredibly competitive early on and it became quite clear that the team had developed one of the better chassis on the grid.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 07: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari 060/5 turbo locks a wheel as he comes into the pits during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 7, 2016 in Suzuka. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
SUZUKA, JAPAN – OCTOBER 07: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari 060/5 turbo locks a wheel as he comes into the pits during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 7, 2016 in Suzuka. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

But as others improved their power-units, Toro Rosso’s undeveloped power-deficit became clearer, but the team continued to show streaks of competitiveness throughout the year with competent drives from Daniil Kvyat and in particular Carlos Sainz.

SEE ALSO: Toro Rosso’s plans for 2018

The young Spaniard is raring to go and believes that having 2017 Renault power next season should propel Toro Rosso to new heights.

“It will depend on how right we get it in pre-season and the philosophy of the car we are targeting to have. The team has been developing the car since 2015 so I’m confident they’re doing a good job enough.

But when there’s a new regulation, sometimes you depend a bit on luck to know if the philosophy of the team has got it right.

If we have a strong chassis as we had the last two years, then with the power unit of Renault we should be looking to be in the place Force India and Williams have been this year.

I really target to be in the top five or six in the constructors’ championship, knowing McLaren will be stronger and there will be five manufacturer teams. It will mean beating established manufacturer teams so it will not be easy, but I trust in our team because they’ve produced a chassis lately that is in the top five.”

– Carlos Sainz

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 25: Daniil Kvyat of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Russia during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 25, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 25: Daniil Kvyat of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Russia during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 25, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Franz Tost echoed the sentiments of his driver, stating that the team would have been a constant pain to Williams and Force India this year had their power-unit been of the 2016 calibre.

Had the upcoming regulations of 2017 remained largely unchanged from this season, inter-team gaps would be more measurable and you’d have to expect Toro Rosso to be a constant challenger of top-six results given the underlying strength of the chassis. But the running order is difficult to predict although the team’s ambitions are clearly on point.