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Mat Coch writes:
Toro Rosso must produce a car with more downforce if the team is to be more competitive in 2013, according to Daniel Ricciardo. After a season where all its near rivals enjoyed strong points hauls the Italian squad was the notable exception.
Williams won in Spain, Sauber had four podium finishes and Force India led the Brazilian Grand Prix for a stretch. Meanwhile, for much of the year Toro Rosso was left trailing the competition.
The Faenza squad, which finished ninth in last year's Constructors' Championship showed flashes of speed, particularly early in the campaign, but was all too often outpaced by its nearest rivals.
"Mainly it needs more downforce and a good development programme through the year," Daniel Ricciardo told Pitpass when asked what the 2013 car needs in order to be more competitive.
The Australian, who made his debut for Hispania in 2011, also hinted the car won't feature a stepped nose, as was the custom in 2012. "I'm not going to upset the team before the season has even started by giving away secrets," he said. "But I can say it looks a bit more conventional than last year's design! I'm quite happy to drive anything as long as it's quick."
Now entering his second full season of Formula One the pressure at Toro Rosso will inevitably begin to mount. Notoriously fickle with its drivers, both Ricciardo and teammate Jean-Eric Vergne will be racing for both their immediate and long term futures, especially important as Mark Webber nears the end of his career.
However, the 23-year-old remains realistic, not allowing himself to get carried away at the potential of a Red Bull seat alongside Sebastian Vettel. "Who knows," he laughs. "We haven't even started testing for 2013 yet, so 2014 looks a very long way away. All I can say about it at the moment, is that it will be a very interesting season with such a major change to the technical rules.
"I have a good relationship with Mark (Webber)," he added. "When I was just starting out, he gave me some advice, but to be honest, we don't see much of one another at the race track, apart from a brief catch-up at the European races, where Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing share the same team hospitality unit. But for the majority of races, he is at one end of the paddock and I'm down nearer the other end!"
A strong qualifier, he was sixth on the grid for last years Bahrain Grand Prix, the Australian has often been seen to fade during the race. "I think that's a rather simple view of the situation," he argues. "I had some very strong races, but there were times when it might not have looked like it to those who did not have the full picture."
Toro Rosso launches its car at Jerez on February 4, the day before the start of the opening pre-season test.
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