Scuderia Toro Rosso is the final team to show off its 2017 challenger, the STR12, and has earned immediate praise by paddock insiders and fans for a radical new design and paint scheme.
Having run the same (hand-painted) livery scheme for its first eleven seasons in Formula 1, the Italian team has launched a new paint job with striking red, blue and silver colours to promote Red Bull’s Simply Cola beverage.
Under the new colour scheme there is also a new engine. Toro Rosso returned to Renault power after running year-old Ferraris in 2016, which will help forge a closer tie-in with its similarly-powered senior team, Red Bull Racing.
The switch of engine providers has created extra work for the small outfit’s design team, headed by technical director James Key, but the finished product looks to be a sleek machine that will have piqued a number of rival teams’ interests.
“With driver continuity and a power unit which made a major step forward last year and which should be developing strongly this year, it just leaves the chassis as an unknown quantity,” Key said of the team’s new car.
“We always set ourselves ambitious targets and this year, we are taking a more long-term view over the 20 races, with a long list of planned in-season developments. I suspect it will be a very busy year with plenty of performance still to be found.”
Key was more guarded in the expectations of the team, and perhaps understandably so after team principal Franz Tost boldly predicted that the team could finish as high as fifth overall in the 2016 Constructors’ Championship standings. As it was, poor reliability and the year-old Ferrari engine’s lack of grunt hamstrung an outstanding chassis, consigning the team to seventh overall.
Incorporating the ‘shark fin’ engine cover seen almost universally across the grid in other teams’ launch-specification designs, the STR12 features a number of design characteristics that are very similar to what the championship-winning Mercedes team has showcased.
Eschewing the ‘thumb tip’ nose profile adopted by most of the teams, the STR12’s front end, suspension and sidepods all bear a striking resemblance to the 2016 and 2017 Mercedes concepts.
After a disrupted ‘filming day’ event in Misano, the team will hope for better reliability when the STR12 has its first longer runs in Barcelona.
The team retains its 2016 driver line-up of Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat; the latter returned to the squad from Red Bull Racing in a straight swap with Max Verstappen in the lead-up to the Spanish Grand Prix.
Images via Red Bull Content Pool