Toro Rosso has released the first images of its 2019 Formula One car, the STR14, one week ahead of its testing debut in Barcelona next Monday.
The most visible changes to the car from last year’s are those mandated by 2019’s new technical regulations, including a wider, simplified front wing, smaller barge boards and a higher, wider rear wing. However, the sidepod inlets have also been revised from last year’s STR13 and now follow the design trend led by Ferrari in recent years. The rear of the car also looks more tightly packaged as the team enters its second season with Honda power and bears a resemblance to last year’s Red Bull.
The senior Red Bull team will also be powered by Honda this year, opening up more opportunities for Toro Rosso to share certain parts under the FIA’s ‘listed parts’ regulations. Deputy technical director Jody Eddington said the team has been able to focus more of its attention on certain parts of the car that deliver extra performance.
“Nothing has changed in terms of the design process of laying the car out, we just have a few less variables to play with,” he said. “However, within the framework of a fixed amount of available resource, this can provide an opportunity as it allows more focus on other areas of the car concept which in turn can bring performance.”
Toro Rosso has an all-new driver line-up this year after losing Pierre Gasly to Red Bull and cutting its ties with Brendon Hartley at the end of 2018. The STR14 will be driven by the returning Russian driver Daniil Kvyat and rookie Alexander Albon this year.
“As is always the case before the start of a season, it’s too early to say and we don’t want to set a specific target — at least not now,” team principal Franz Tost said. “All things considered, the quality of the synergies with Red Bull Technology, the belief in our very high level of in-house technical knowledge, the impressive development trajectory Honda has shown so far, and the couple of strong young drivers we have available make me feel confident.”
Kvyat, who last raced for Toro Rosso in 2017 and spent a year on the sidelines as a Ferrari simulator driver in 2018, is hoping his return to the grid will offer a chance to prove his worth in F1.
“We don’t know exactly where we’re going to be,” he said. “Like everyone else, we are working hard to put the best package together and the best thing I can do for myself is to work as hard as possible on myself and on my performance. I believe in the guys in the team. They know what they’re doing. Me and my engineering crew will do everything we can to squeeze the maximum out of the package we’re given by the team. I think we’re looking good and I feel that everyone is motivated and focused. I can see that, and it gives me confidence for the future.”
Albon, who finished second in Formula 2 last year, added: “In general, the way I’ve gone about my career and my racing, is I never set any goals on anything. Every year, it was just each race, take it step by step, focus and race in that session — whatever it would be, practice, qualifying, the race. Just take it as it is. If you start setting long-term goals, you just put unnecessary pressure on yourself. I’m just focused on myself and let’s see how it all goes.”