Toro Rosso have been impressed with the gains that the Renault Power unit has made over the course of the winter as the team prepare for another season battling in the points.
Toro Rosso’s technical director James Key believes that Renault’s gains in dyno this season are already showing a translation out on track.
“I think the good thing with Renault is on the performance side, since we’ve been with them, they’ve turned a huge corner. Our impressions are positive — exactly where it stands in the order is impossible to say at this stage, but there’s definitely a vast improvement from what we saw in the past.
You can see that, that’s real, it’s not just a value coming out of a dyno, I think it’s real. So from a performance point of view we’re happy with what we’re seeing so far.
We know winter testing is very difficult to tell of course, so it’s always with a caveat but it does appear to be very tight. If you do the calculations, much depends on fuel levels and where people are running their engine and that sort of thing — we’re pretty conservative right now anyway despite the tyres we’re using — but I think it looks tight.”
– James Key
Of course, what’s good news for Toro Rosso is also good news for Red Bull and the Renault works team. Red Bull will need the power unit advancement given how strong Ferrari have looked so far in winter testing, not just over the headline grabbing fastest lap, but their pace on longer stints has been very close to Mercedes.
The Renault works team will be forgiven for finishing behind Red Bull this season, but should the works team finish behind the sister, Toro Rosso, then questions will be asked. The Faenza-based squad need a better week of testing this time, having finished last on the mileage counter, behind McLaren. Neither Daniil Kvyat or Carlos Sainz set a faster lap than any other team either, although their fastest lap over the first week was completed on the soft compound where others ran on the ultrasofts and supersofts.