Q&A with Toro Rosso’s Franz Tost

Scuderia Toro Rosso will tackle the final eight races of the season with a new technical upgrade package and one new driver – you will have to wait a few more days to find out who he is. Team Principal Franz Tost answers some of the obvious questions.

The season got off to a reasonable start with a few points finishes, but then the team appeared to get left behind. Why was that?

Toro Rosso had quite a successful start to the season, scoring points in Australia and China and later, in Monaco, we picked up another one. However, from then on, we lost touch with the other mid-field runners. There are various reasons for this: firstly, the other teams improved their cars, regularly producing updates to their technical package. We introduced a few small updates, but nothing major. For example, we are the only team never to have run with a double diffuser, one of the key elements to car performance this year. Why? It was a financial decision. Rather than incur the costs of constant updates, we chose to keep costs within budget by waiting, before delivering one major update package, which will make its race debut at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Secondly, apart from the limitations on car development, we also had one driver who did not live up to our expectations.

Can we really expect to see a step forward in the final part of this season?

We expect that the technical upgrades should see us return to a level of competitiveness that we were able to demonstrate in the second half of last season.

How do you rate Buemi’s performance?

Buemi has done a really good job so far. You have to consider that, as the only rookie on the grid this year, he is the first real victim of the in-season testing ban. He had therefore never driven at circuits like Silverstone or the Nurburgring in a Formula 1 car, which is completely different to tackling them in other types of car. While he knows the tracks from Formula 3 or GP2, it is not at all the same, because F1 is much more complex and little details like how track conditions usually change from the third free practice session on Saturday morning, to qualifying that same afternoon, are all part of the package that only comes with experience. Up until this year, we would have done a minimum of three days testing at Silverstone for example, prior to the British Grand Prix and at many other race venues. But you can’t have everything and while we are saving money through not testing, the downside is that young drivers will suffer. What we can say is that Buemi will be a much more complete driver for the 2010 season.

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