As excitement for the first test grows with the hours ticking down until the first green light of 2014, Toro Rosso became the first team to unveil their new machinery in Jerez, revealing the STR9. Again, it is a story of hideous nose designs, with this one standing out as being particularly aesthetically concerning. Jean Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat will have to develop keen spacial awareness to avoid damaging the outstretched tip of the front wing. Its certainly not a ‘looker’, but Toro Rosso will hope the STR9 can be a step forward from a innocuous campaign.
|Toro Rosso have the most radical nose design yet, but will it point them to glory?|
Ditching Conservative Design
While 2014 was always set to be a revolutionary year, few could have predicted Toro Rosso’s radical redesign – especially since they have been considered the team for continuity of designs over recent years. The STR9 is a total overhaul of their 2013 challenger.
The most notable area of change is in the front wing section, as would be anticipated. However, the car features the most poignant ‘anteater’ nose to date and it is certainly not pretty. The extension of the nose looks like somewhat of an afterthought, painted in blue as oppose to gold, which would potentially lessen the artificial look of the nose section. By design, the nose tip looks triangular through the cross-section however, this is just a product of illusion. Despite this, it differs in shape from the shorter and more rounded McLaren tip. Moreover, the vertical spars are far less poignant on the Toro Rosso compared to the MP4-29 and C33 and look similar to the 2012 specification.
Meanwhile, significant changes have been made to the sidepods which now look much more akin to Red Bull’s design. The ‘coke bottle’ is now packaged far more aggressively; perhaps to maximise the air drawn towards the rear of the car as a result of the narrower front wings. How this will affect the diffuser is unknown, as Toro Rosso ensured that this section of the car was concealed from the cameras today. At least we only have to wait until tomorrow to see what secrets the STR9 is still yet to reveal. The aggressive packaging has not resulted in a decrease in size of the radiator cooling ducts, which are noticeably bigger than last year.
Another key feature which is not visible is the powertrain. The team have used Ferrari engines ever since Red Bull purchased Minadi back in 2007, yet this season they have made the switch to Renault engines. This makes perfect sense, considering Red Bull’s long term collaboration with the French engine supplier. The switch has also meant that Toro Rosso will have the gearbox built by Red Bull, to accompany the Renault engine.
“2014 will be very interesting from many different points of view. I call it a year of new strategy and news,” Autosport quoted Team Principal Franz Tost as saying. “We have had to design a new nose, new sidepods and new wings – never before have we started so early with the designs.”
Ready To Go Green
Today was an interesting time to launch a car. With the first day of testing tomorrow, most teams have opted to keep the wraps on their 2014 challenger until tomorrow. Their ideology is that if it was not unveiled before making the journey to Jerez, it may as well have been kept secret until the first day of testing. However, these teams may have missed a trick.
Toro Rosso enjoyed the scrum of photographers and significant media attention today which the other teams will not receive as their stories become lost in the hysteria of the opening day of testing. With excitement and anticipation reaching fever pitch, Toro Rosso’s sponsors will be pleased for the widespread exposure received today.
Its almost here. The first green light of the season will come at 9am CET tomorrow morning and will mark the first day of on-track action of 2014. Analysis of the opening days action will be out tomorrow evening.