Like most jobs in the wider world, once you’re content with your output and stop developing and aiming for improvement, you stand still and eventually regress. This is magnified in Formula 1 and Toro Rosso’s Chief Designer James Key isn’t satisfied with the STR11.
Whilst the team have regularly finished in the points this season, with Carlos Sainz scoring on every occasion apart from Bahrain, Key believes that the car isn’t as aerodynamically complete as the previous two models that have rolled out of Faenza.
“I don’t think we’re as strong chassis wise as we have been for the past two years. We’re certainly some way off our maximum downforce at the moment. We’re at the right levels for tracks like Barcelona, and we’re very similar to the group of guys we’re in. It could well be the same at Monaco.
Having said that, I think the power thing will help us at Monaco, with the sensitivity, and it’s traditionally a track where we’ve been reasonably competitive with the mechanical grip, and the way our balance works. And the drivers aren’t bad there either, so fingers crossed, we’ll get that right.”
– James Key
Toro Rosso are currently doing a solid job in the races despite the desire for the chassis to improve. They find themselves in 5th in the Constructors, three points ahead of Williams. At last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz finished 8th and Daniil Kvyat unfortunately retired. They look more likely to match or beat that points haul in this season’s race in Monte Carlo, although beating Williams, particularly Felipe Massa, will be difficult.
The teams achievements so far have been overshadowed by the breakaway from the tight midfield scrap that Force India have experienced this season. The Silverstone-based squad seem to be on a different wrung of the ladder this year and it makes the top eight in every race that bit easier to predict. This tightens the battle in the Constructors behind, with less points on offer barring an incident up the road. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Toro Rosso, Williams and Haas separated by single digits at the end of the 2017 season. This is why Key is happy to admit that there are areas in which the team must improve, because their rivals definitely will too.