At Jerez today, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne pulled the covers off the STR7 – Scuderia Toro Rosso’s runner for the upcoming F1 season.
It is the third car produced by the Italian-based squad following the ban on customer cars.
While the 2011 campaign may have only rewarded the team with 8th in the Constructors’ Championship, Toro Rosso showed some promise and only missed out on jumping Sauber by a mere four points.
Yet, such a young and inexperienced driver line-up may also leave Toro Rosso’s climb up the order rather hamstrung.
Although Ricciardo enjoyed eleven Grand Prix last year, he did so with the rather lacklustre HRT squad. Meanwhile Vergne contested in several Friday morning practice sessions once Ricciardo had been promoted to his race seat.
There is something rather depressing about a team that may never feel their way up the grid due to the conveyor belt of drivers that permeate the Red Bull junior programme, but that is life and that is Formula 1.
Meanwhile, the STR7 is apparently an evolution of the previous season’s entry, although I would be interested in finding out of Toro Rosso are still utilising the twin floor they developed for the STR6.
Unfortunately the twin floor was rendered somewhat inert by the hot blowing exhausts that became prominent later in the year. With exhausts now re-situated by the regulations, that avenue could potentially be re-opened.
As with most of the other machines released, the STR7 features a step-nose, which is, according to Technical Director Giorgio Ascanelli, “…less favourable (…) in terms of its aerodynamics.”
Changes to the regulations have also required Toro Rosso to design a stiffer front wing to counteract excessive vibration and deflection that became apparent toward the end of last year. The regulation has forced weight to be added to the nose, altering the weight distribution of the car, rendering it ‘front heavy.’
Interestingly like the similarly-powered Ferrari and Sauber, Toro Rosso have designed rather small sidepod units, creating a thinner chassis module in an effort to aid the direction of passing air.
For the nuts and bolts of things, look to Joe Saward, Kate Walker, ManipeF1 and, of course, Autosport. For the more techy minded, there are always Racecar Engineering and Craig Scarborough.