With the 2014 season now archived and all Scuderia Toro Rosso’s focus firmly fixed on 2015, our Team Principal Franz Tost takes one last look back at what will come to be seen as a key year in the history of Formula 1.
FT: “Pre-season testing was extremely disappointing. Reliability problems meant the STR9 only did half the mileage of that covered by the Mercedes-powered cars and that put us at a big disadvantage for the start of the season.
Nevertheless, once the races began, we performed fairly well, with a particularly encouraging opening round in Melbourne, where Jev finished eighth and Daniill ninth, making him the youngest driver to ever score points in Formula 1.”
“The major change to the regulations meant that a high retirement rate was expected, however, such is the high level of technology in Formula 1, that the actual numbers across the entire field were fewer than predicted. At Toro Rosso, we actually made progress on the reliability front over the course of the year, as can be seen from the figures: from 38 race starts, we posted 10 DNFs, but 9 of them came in the first ten races, up to the German Grand Prix. One was down to a collision, five were due to a Toro Rosso problem, with the remaining four being related to the power unit. Jean-Eric actually completed all races from Austria onwards. This means the general trend in terms of reliability was positive and it’s something we must carry forward into 2015.”
“If we look at our targets for the year, we had intended to finish at least sixth in the Constructors’ championship and we didn’t hit this one, ending up seventh but we can be reasonably pleased with having made a big step forward compared to previous years.
We also made progress with our working practices: the STR9 was the best car designed and manufactured by Toro Rosso so far. We made a big step forward. All the upgrades we introduced, such as those in Melbourne, Austria, Singapore and Japan worked well. Also on the fabrication side we made progress. The parts were of better quality and they fitted together much better. So well done to the different departments, we are working in the right direction.”
“As for the driver line-up, we have said goodbye to both our 2014 drivers, with Daniil being promoted to replace another former Toro Rosso “pupil,” Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull Racing.
Daniil has done an excellent job being a rookie and has shown in this first year in F1 to be a very fast driver and to have the potential to become one of the top drivers. His strong motivation to learn and to achieve, his focus on how to improve his performance during the season, his great talent and his fighter attitude have given him the chance to step up quite quickly and to get the chance to move to RBR next year.”
“With Jean-Eric, it was a difficult decision to let him go because there’s no doubt he is a very talented driver, but our team’s remit is to bring on the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme and Jev had completed three seasons with us. Our French driver had more than his fair share of bad luck this year and could have finished an impressive fifth in Monaco and he delivered another strong street circuit performance, to come home sixth in Singapore.
Now everyone within in the team is focussed on 2015, applying the lessons learned this year.”