The Italian outfit have had what has been a promising season especially with the performances of their Spaniard Carlos Sainz, with the recent 4th place finish at the Singapore GP being a big highlight, in what was only their sixth top five finish and, despite Danil Kvyat not firing on all cylinders this season (only scoring 4 points to place 19th in the championship), Toro Rosso are sixth in the constructors standings, looking comfortable ahead of Renault and Haas, then not seeming too far away from Williams (and definitely being more consistent than the British team) with only a 7 point difference between the two. So today we'll be taking a look at this years car and looking at all the different design features that have given them the performace they have had.
Danil Kvyat has struggled this season to finish in the points and crshes have constantly blighted him.
The Toro Rosso this season has been heavily linked to having similar characteristics as the Mercedes W08 with one example of this being the centre line cooling concept that they introduced in 2014 which was actually copied by the Silver Arrows. This was introduced so that smaller side pods could be used that increase aerodynamic performance. Also, they both use narrow ducted noses which Toro Rosso has used along with an array of ducts on the underside. However, the Toro Rosso has a significantly shorter wheelbase than the Mercedes and the head of design was quoted saying that 'Because we launched after Mercedes everyone assumed that we copied them, though I'm sure if the launches had been in the reverse order they would probably still be the same'. The press claimed the STR12 was simply a 'blue Mercedes' and that was what grated with James Key (head of development).
One interesting thing was that the 2017 car was actually developed before the 2016 was even built; however this meant that they had to work without the technical regulations introduced for this seasons being finalised. This meant that fuel tank and tyre size were not not known along with the aerodynamic basic package. Another major challenge was the tyres which hadn't been run on a car similar to what would be raced in the 2017 season until the winter testing started earlier this year. The tyre engineers are some of the finest in motor sport and their ideas have clearly been successful as few teams have had serious problems with tyre graining (despite Pirelli being cautious on how quick they wear out) and they've found the right balance between performance and grip and looking after them under the huge loads the car puts them under due to the higher level of downforce and the gripper tyres produced by Pirelli.
Then when the rules were made available, all the teams had to contest with the challenge of what to look at most or whether to spread the ideas across the board. This years front suspension had to be significantly stronger than last year (because of the force they're under) and the cross section of the car is much larger along with the front wishbone ending short of the upright and being swept back outwards and backwards to meet the wishbone. Then the Scuderia continue to manafacture their own gearbox as it gives huge freedom for the transmission casing and the suspension as it can be tailored to suit the dimensions of the car and it uses gearbox internals from Xtrac and the team share some parts from Xtrac with Red Bull's RB13. The team also make their own brake by wire system along with carbon Brembo brake calipers.
In conclusion the STR12 has been a car of moderate success with a good chassis making it a regular in the points and is well on course to matching their record constructors position of 6th. In the next few seasons could they make strides forward to be the best midfield runners?
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