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Toro Rosso Team Principal, Franz Tost, outlines the Faenza outfit's expectations for the season ahead - sixth in the standings - and the changes that have taken place within the team over the winter.
"Stability is usually seen as a good attribute for a Formula 1 team, however there are times when changes are required and, as we prepare for our eighth season of Grand Prix racing, there is something of a new look to our team.
"In terms of the Faenza facility itself, our newest building, known as STR3 is now fully operational and home to our composites department, which is equipped with the very latest technology and, more importantly, staffed with highly qualified people.
"Being able to produce more and more of our car in-house is a great asset, as it gives us total control over quality and deadlines, which is vital if we want to move up the order in the pit lane. There is more to come, with work on another new building due to begin in the second quarter of this year for completion in 2014. It will be the hub of our operation, providing new offices and a home for our engineers and designers who are currently working out of a rather cramped facility. This building will also house the Car Assembly and Preparation area, as well as the Quality Control department, the Machine Shop and Stores.
"In terms of our organisational structure, over the winter we created a Vehicle Performance Group, which is headed up by chief engineer, Laurent Mekies. This new group will focus on a variety of areas, with a strong emphasis on data analysis, an area where we have room for improvement as well as carrying out a lot of simulation work to help the design team make better informed decisions. It should also see an increase in our pace of development, particularly on the mechanical side of the car. We could not neglect the aero side and we have made changes to and expanded our aerodynamics department and there are plans to strengthen our CFD and Wind Tunnel operations.
"We also have some people in different roles this year, as well as bringing some new blood into the Toro Rosso family. James Key has been with us as Technical Director for six months now, while Chief Designer Luca Furbatto has been in Faenza for just over a year and the STR8 is the first car to be penned by him and his design team.
"Both our drivers will have new race engineers for this season: Daniel Ricciardo will work with Marco Matassa, who was his data engineer and has already engineered him at a couple of races in 2012 and some tests. Jean-Eric Vergne is teamed up with Phil Charles, formerly a race engineer at Renault F1. Gianfranco Fantuzzi has spent several decades travelling the world working in Formula 1 and our Team Manager has decided he would like to spend less time in airports! He has now moved to a factory-based role, while we are pleased to welcome Steve Nielsen as his replacement. Steve is very experienced and comes to us following a brief stint with the Caterham team, after a long career at Renault F1.
"I mentioned our two drivers and naturally, we will be expecting more from them this year as they both tackle their second full season of Formula 1. However, we are well aware it is up to us to provide them with a car that's capable of allowing them to show their undoubted talent.
"After taking part in the sport's longest ever season in 2012, every team now knows just how tough a task faces us all again, even if at the moment, there are only 19 races on the calendar.
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