Toro Rosso’s technical chief James Key believes that the upcoming Formula One season will see the grid emerge from the testing winter with a make-over unlike any that has been seen in 20 years.
Key oversaw the design and development of the STR11 chassis, which has surely proven to be one of the best chassis that Toro Rosso have created in their history. But James Key believes that next year will bring a big variance of solutions to the Formula One paddock. The ideas behind the 2017 regulations are not only to make the cars more aerodynamic and quicker-per-lap, but also to bring aesthetic difference between teams.
“It’s a massive change. Honestly, from a bodywork and suspension and tire point of view, this is the biggest one that I’ve personally experienced in almost 19 years in F1.
From a chassis point of view, it’s the biggest change of the past two decades, even bigger than 2009 and certainly bigger than 2014. These are exciting times!”
– James Key
The technical chief also revealed the timeframe for such a momentous task.
“Basically, there are two processes going on. Firstly, you’ve got the enormous amount of research you have to do to try and understand what makes a car with these new regulations tick, without any experience of them in reality, because for a long time, we can only operate in the virtual world. That process comes to an end in January.
Secondly you hit the track for winter testing, after which you go and do a season with all this work that for a long time existed in your virtual world.
We tentatively started the 2017 project in September 2015, so it’s been 14 months so far. Back then, the chassis regulations hadn’t been finalized but we thought that with any change of this nature, the sooner you start, the better.”
– James Key
Toro Rosso head into their 12th Formula One season off the back of a strong 2016 in which they achieved 6th in the Constructors. 2017 sounds like it has the capacity to mix the running order, so the Faenza-based squad will be hoping that their 14 month plans come to fruition.