Toro Rosso reveals the STR8

Toro Rosso STR8

On the eve of the first pre-season testing at Jerez, Scuderia Toro Rosso has reveals its 2013 Formula 1 car, the STR8, to the world’s press.

The Italian team finished in a distant ninth in last season’s constructors’ championship, although the outfit did finish the year strongly with six points finishes in the final nine events.

Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have been retained for their second full seasons driving for the Red Bull junior team.

Toro Rosso STR8 drivers

The STR8 is the first car designed by the team’s new technical department heads James Key and Luca Furbatto.

“It’s very emotional,” said team boss Franz Tost. “The team has worked with a very high level of effort to come up with a great car and met the high expectations for this year. The goal is to finish sixth in the constructors’ championship.”

“Both drivers did a really good job last year, and I’m convinced if we supply them with a good car they’ll come up with surprise results.”

For the seventh successive year the Toro Rosso will be powered by Ferrari engines.

4 thoughts to “Toro Rosso reveals the STR8”

  1. Scuderia Toro Rosso insists it is under pressure to perform this season, compared to Ricciardo and Vergne. has the details.

    Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost believes there is more pressure on his team than his drivers in 2013.

    Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have both retained their seats at the Italian squad in what Red Bull’s Christian Horner suggested could be a crucial year for their future hopes.

    Tost however believes both drivers delivered some ‘superb performances’ over the 2012 Formula 1 campaign, and that the pressure to improve in the constructors’ championship falls more heavily on the team itself.

    “The onus to improve is on us,” Tost told AUTOSPORT. “Daniel and Jean-Eric are both highly skilled, and they improved throughout 2012.

    “OK they have the pressure of having more experience, but both have showed good performance already. It’s up to us to provide them with a good car.”

    Ricciardo, who finished directly behind Vergne in 18th position last year, played down the implied threat of fellow Red Bull protege Antonio Felix da Costa, who tested for Red Bull in last year’s young driver test.

    Antonio Felix da Costa”I see a very bright future for him – he has tested the Red Bull car and he’s followed a similar path to me and Jean-Eric, and look where we are,” Ricciardo said of da Costa.

    “I’m sure Portugal can get excited about seeing him in F1 in a few years’ time, but he’s not a threat to me – he’s motivation.

    “It’s the same as trying to secure sixth, which I believe is realistic. Myself and Jean-Eric have been retained, we will keep improving and hopefully the car will too.

    “We have already got a few laps in at Misano and my first impressions were good. I had a smile on my face, which is hopefully telling me I have reasons to be optimistic this year.”

  2. analysis on the Toro Rosso STR8:

    The new Toro Rosso STR8 is set for major aerodynamic changes as the year progresses after the team focused on mechanical improvements with its launch-spec car.

    Technical director James Key admitted that the major differences between this year’s machine and its predecessor are currently on the mechanical side, but that some fundamental concepts are being worked on for introduction later in the season.

    Some of these parts will appear during pre-season testing, but major packages are planned once the season is underway.

    “We have got some bits coming for the next test and the test after which will visibly change the car,” said Key.

    “We are working now on the future steps and we will evolve.

    “We’re already looking at different types of approaches in some areas, fundamentally different approaches that will eventually come to life later in the season.”

    Despite the relatively conservative aerodynamic step, Key is confident that the major leaps forward on the mechanical side will allow STR to improve at the start of the season.

    “Mechanically is probably the best step that we’ve made even though aerodynamically it’s immature,” said Key.

    “That, combined with the new tyres we’ve got, we have got pretty good opportunity of getting quite a bit more out of it.

    James Key”The suspension packaging and the way the suspension works is very different. It will open up a lot of things that we can do with this car that we couldn’t do with STR7.”

    Key also explained the reasoning behind the team dropping the aggressive ‘twin floor’ design concept that it has used for the past two years, which is the one major changes to the car aerodynamically.

    While the STR8 features an aggressive sidepod undercut, it was decided to follow the design trend favoured by its rival teams in recent years.

    “We were the only team that was doing it,” said Key. “I looked at it with my previous team and you could see what was going on, but it wasn’t an obvious step change.

    “We had the capacity to change it on this car, which was designed to allow us to go lower with the coolers and fill in that gap and we decided to go with it.

    “What we saw with the STR7 was that it was drying up a bit and getting difficult to find more on the aero side, so making a step changes encourages new development directions.”

    Expert view from Autosport’s Formula 1 editor Edd Straw:

    When team principal Franz Tost declared that Scuderia Toro Rosso’s target for the 2013 season was to finish sixth in the constructors’ championship, matching the achievement of the near-miraculous 2008 season when Sebastian Vettel claimed the team’s sole victory, it was difficult not to be sceptical.

    Last year, Toro Rosso finished ninth, 100 points behind sixth-placed Sauber and spent a decent proportion of the season firmly rooted to the back of the midfield pack. The team directly ahead of it – Williams – won a race on merit, just to underline just how big a step Toro Rosso needs to take.

    Effectively, it needs to beat all of the teams that it realistically has the potential to. While things took a turn for the better in the final third of last season with regular points finishes, that’s still a big gap to bridge.

    There are some reasons to take it seriously, even if beating all of Williams, Sauber and Force India is a long shot. In James Key, it has a technical director with a proven track record after turning Sauber back into top half-dozen material.

    His approach seems logical. Key grew up in Formula 1 working on the vehicle dynamics side at Jordan and the mechanical changes STR has made reflect his clear ideas of how to get the best out of the car and the tyres. The team is confident, therefore, that the far wider set-up window will automatically buy it some more points over last year.

    One of the reasons why Giorgio Ascanelli was not looked upon as the future by the team’s ownership was that the aerodynamic department working under him wasn’t making as much progress as required. Cue a series of personnel changes, which inevitably has led to a certain lag between new blood coming in and the fruits of their labour.

    When Key says to expect some major aerodynamic changes, there’s every reason to believe him. It might not be until the start of the European season, or even later, that we see the true 2013 STR.

    All of that might not add up to sixth place. But it will certainly equal a team on an upward trajectory, and that in itself is more important than achieving an arbitrary position in the constructors’ championship.

  3. The designer guide to the Toro Rosso STR8 as taken from

    After a tough 2012 season, Toro Rosso go into winter testing with a renewed sense of optimism, having unveiled their all-new (bar the steering wheel) car in Spain on Monday. The team’s chief designer, Luca Furbatto, takes us through the concept behind the STR8…

    “I joined Toro Rosso on 1st December 2011 and my first task was to learn as much as possible about the team and to familiarise myself with the STR7 which was designed by my predecessor.

    “In pre-season testing last year, we were able to get a first look at the strengths and limitations of the STR7. It was clear from the start that we had some issues with the weight distribution of the car and we were not able to effectively cover the entire weight distribution range, as controlled by the FIA regulations. This therefore became a point we wanted to rectify with STR8. Another fact to emerge from initial testing, was that the car appeared to be more compliant in terms of lap time sensitive compliances, when compared to other cars I have worked on and that was another point we wanted to rectify with this year’s car. A further key point was that I wanted to create a platform for aerodynamic development of the car. The rear end of the STR7 was effectively derived from the previous model, the STR6 and I felt the rear could be made much slimmer and more compact and that was another area we focussed on in designing STR8. We sought to give a mechanical infrastructure to the aerodynamic department which would be a good platform for their development work.

    “The project began in March 2012 and we started with the rear end of the car- gearbox, hydraulics and rear suspension – because the production time and the testing required for these components is very extensive. We were able to issue the drawings for the gearbox parts in July and, as we prepare for our first track test, our dyno testing suggests we have a strong and reliable gearbox. The second phase was to integrate within the gearbox design a revised rear suspension, with the emphasis on making it more aerodynamic, in order to generate more downforce. When designing the chassis, again, providing a platform for aerodynamic development was an important consideration. In terms of suspension layout, kinematics and internals those are again brand new. The STR7 was very limited in terms of set-up possibilities and with STR8 we opened up this aspect substantially, adding devices and features not present on previous STR cars. This should allow race engineers and drivers to perfect the handling and ride behaviour of the new car.

    “As for the aerodynamic concept of the car, this too has changed fundamentally from the previous year. Development was rather limited in 2012 and this was because the STR7’s distinctive sidepod design, although initially looking quite good, later proved difficult to develop, so that we reached a plateau during the season. We therefore decided in early August to go down another route and at the same time took the opportunity to change the cooling layout of the car and so, on STR8 the radiators are much lower. This also allows us to drop the deck of the sidepods more aggressively. These changes mean the car actually looks quite conventional, while still retaining some of the features of STR7, because even if it is a new concept, it is an evolution based on the current regulations. We are also planning an aggressive development programme for the first part of the season, based around a very narrow rear end and low exhausts.

    “From a weight distribution point of view, we believe that thanks to the architectural shape of STR8, we should be able to explore all the opportunities within the weight distribution range allowed in the rules. Initial indications on suspension compliance are encouraging and in terms of aero development, we are in better shape than at the end of last season and another positive step is that the rate of development is increasing, indicating there is further potential to move forward in terms of downforce.

    “In terms of manpower, the design team has grown a little bit. Everyone remained motivated, even when things did not go so well in 2012: everybody has worked extremely hard to deliver a brand new car on time and I like to tell them that the only carry-over part from STR7 is in fact the steering wheel! For a team that is maybe half the size of a top team, that and the fact we are on-time with the project, is a tremendous achievement.

    “Operationally, we continue to work with a wind tunnel and part of our aerodynamic staff based in Bicester in the UK. Over the past 12 months there has been a big improvement in communication between the various departments and we have invested in new technologies on this front, so even though we are operating on different sites, effectively it is as though we are working next door to one another. This step up in communication means the new car is better integrated than in the past. I can sum it up by saying that, twelve months ago, when work came through from Bicester, engineers in Faenza felt on the receiving end of something that was designed elsewhere, now it really feels like a co-design from different departments within the same team, which is encouraging for the future, both short and long term.”

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