Toro Rosso technical director James Key admits that the timing of his arrival at the team and the need to look ahead at 2014 means that the new STR8 is not a radical departure from last year’s car.
The new car, which still features STR’s trademark undercut sidepods – albeit not as pronounced – was unveiled at Jerez on Monday evening.
Key arrived at the team in September, which limited the opportunity to put his stamp on the car and in effect introduce some Sauber influence.
“I’ve done quite a lot with the guys in 2014 to try and get the programme underway,” he told this writer. “I think we clearly want to make STR8 a good step, and that’s certainly a big priority for most of the people at the moment, so we’re concentrating on STR8. We haven’t got the luxury of saying let’s not worry about this year. We’re having to mix and match a little bit with a bias towards this year right now.
“But I think to a certain extent at the time of year I arrived it simply wasn’t possible to do that anyway. It was a case of going though with what we had, which I think was fine anyway, to be honest.”
Key said that many of the key parameters were fixed more or less at the time he arrived.
“For me it’s been a case that September was a really tricky period with the car, because it’s the definition period for all the big bits, and that was happening when I arrived, although everything from what I could see was a pretty big step. So for me it was ensuring that we understand how we can use the new mechanical designs we’ve introduced, all of which are pretty flexible. And then really concentrate on the aero side as much as we can.
“I think where were we are with the car that’s been launched today it’s not the final product by any stretch. It’s pretty close to the mechanical final product, but from an aero point of view, it’s a long way off what we’ll develop towards during the year.”