Toro Rosso have launched their first car to be powered by a Renault engine with a reveal of the STR9 in the Jerez pit lane.
The new car will be driven by Jean-Eric Vergne and rookie Daniil Kvyat, who replaced Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian moved to Red Bull.
The STR9 features a nose similar to that on the McLaren and Sauber and retains its traditional colours and livery.
Toro Rosso’s chief designer Luca Furbatto said: “Pretty much all the systems on the car are brand-new and that’s certainly a concern from a reliability point of view as the season progresses, because we won’t have known reference points from the past few years.”
Technical director James Key added the team’s biggest priority was the aerodynamics, with working starting on the car back in the summer of 2012. The first wind tunnel test took place before Christmas that year.
Key said: “The aero side was by far our biggest priority, as we wanted to put that department into a much more current and competitive shape. Over the past 12 months, we’ve been working on increasing the size of the aerodynamics department. It’s grown significantly, and we now have many new people with very relevant F1 experience.”
The move to Renault engines, ending a seven-year association with Ferrari, brings them in-line with sister team Red Bull who also use the French power units. The deal was announced at the Monaco Grand Prix last May, with the two companies starting work together immediately.
Key added: “Changing your engine partner is always a bit of a step into the unknown for both parties, until that working relationship is established and everyone understands how best to operate together.
“To switch from a process where you’ve got a well-established and understood way of working with the previous engine supplier to a situation where you have not only a new engine supplier but also a totally different type of power unit that we’re not familiar with at all, is quite a big leap.
“Renault has been excellent at recognising that and helping us out a great deal. We have already built up a good working relationship with them.”
The team have already given the car its first shakedown with Vergne and Kvyat getting behind the wheel at a filming day at Misano, Italy last week.
The team finished eighth in the constructors’ championship last year as they did not always transform the pace of the car into points.
Key added: “We were quicker than the points scored suggested in 2013, if you could look behind the numbers, but we didn’t make the most of our opportunities. Therefore, we’re putting all our efforts into ensuring we have a better situation for this year.”
Kvyat, who will make his F1 race debut this year, said: “I am very excited that I am about to start my first season in Formula 1. It will be a year of discovering many new things, which I expect will be very interesting. I can’t wait to actually start the driving part, the best part of my job.
“Six days of winter testing is not a lot and I will have to see how quickly I get used to the new car, which wasn’t a big issue when I drove the 2013 car. Anyway, I have always liked a big challenge. The team hasn’t set me any specific targets, so its just a case of getting on top of my game as quickly as possible.”
Vergne added: “From a driver’s point of view, we will have a lot of new elements to understand and changes that will require us to adapt as quickly as possible.
“We will have to adopt a different style of driving, especially in the races, with this new power unit combined with the need to manage fuel, while the changes to the rule regarding levels of downforce will make the cars feel different, offering less grip, which will also take some getting used to. It’s going to be a fascinating start to the year.”