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Toro Rosso enjoyed its fourth straight points finish at the British Grand Prix on Sunday, with Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari taking home one point after a strong fight back from 18th on the grid. Team Principal Franz Tost reflects on the progress his team has been making, explains the reasons behind placing Red Bull-backed Daniel Ricciardo at HRT and hails reigning Champion Sebastian Vettel as 'the best driver' on the Formula 1 grid.
Why is the car now more competitive?
We have new front wings, new rear wings, a new floor, gearbox, diffuser, new exhaust system… Everywhere it’s a little bit different and all of those factors together resulted in a quite competitive car. The drivers are also making progress and the performance from both has improved during the season. They haven’t made major mistakes so they are (finishing) in the points. The team are also growing and increasing their performance.
Where is the team strong? Where can it improve?
We can improve everywhere! If you look to the history of Toro Rosso, we had to start from very nearly zero to build up the team. I’m quite happy with the progress we are making, but we will bring in some more people because we need to strengthen.
Regarding the recent rule clarifications, does change help you close the gap on the bigger teams or does the expense of redesigning systems give them an advantage?
I don’t think our team have suffered a lot. Ferrari provide our engines and engine maps to a very good and professional level and there are no other major changes required. For me it’s a little bit strange that we get these regulation changes during the season – but that’s a decision for the FIA, we will accept whatever we are asked to do.
With Daniel Ricciardo going to HRT for the rest of the season, there’s lots of interest in the Red Bull Junior Team. As their 'finishing school', do Toro Rosso have a responsibility to educate their drivers?
Yes, broadly that’s the task of Toro Rosso: to educate Red Bull drivers for Red Bull Racing. At the start of the season, Ricciardo was out for us on Friday mornings for 90 minutes to learn the different racetracks, how the team works, how to give technical feedback, how to work with the engineers, even how to conduct himself for marketing activities and press work.
Now he’s been offered the chance to race, and I can see only advantages in this. Participating in FP1 is not the same as doing a complete race weekend, so he will be much better prepared for next year. And he can’t drive for Toro Rosso because we have two race drivers who are doing a good job.
What our driver pairing will be in 2012, I don’t know yet. This will be decided by Red Bull at the end of the season.
Sebastian Vettel is being described as a driver who has ‘matured’ - but you always claimed he was mature when he drove for Toro Rosso. Do you think he has changed much?
I don’t know whether 'matured' is the correct word. Sebastian won the World Championship last year, and this takes a driver to a whole new level because he knows what he’s done and what he’s doing. Apart from his extraordinary driving skills and his cleverness, he’ll also have that extra confidence.
Factoring all of that together allows him to build a package that’s very, very competitive. So from the outside that probably looks like a driver who is becoming more mature, but really there are many, many factors which are working together to make him strong - and he is currently the best out there.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
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|Scuderia Toro Rosso|
|15 May||Tost: Drivers need to perform exceptionally|
|12 May||Points-scoring Ricciardo left wanting more|
|14 Apr||'I didn't know Webber was there' – Vergne|
|2011 British Formula 1 Grand Prix|
|14 Jul '11||In-depth tyre analysis: Silverstone|
|13 Jul '11||GPUpdate TV: Vettel on effects of diffuser changes|
|13 Jul '11||Webber: The team wanted points, but so did I|
|15 May||Mixed feelings over penalty points system|
|12 May||We can be happy with fourth, says Vettel|
|11 May||Vettel not dejected after missing pole|
|5 Feb||Toro Rosso eyes Renault engines for '14|
|4 Feb||Toro Rosso targets sixth in 2013 standings|
|6 Sep '12||Tost: A new chapter for Toro Rosso|
|1 May||Marko 'not worried' about 2014 line-up|
|29 Apr||F1 photos: Ricciardo gives demo at Aragon|
|14 Apr||Ricciardo: everything clicked into place|
|17 Feb||Alguersuari: F1 has become an auction|
|1 Jan||'Buemi misses out on Force India seat'|
|28 Nov '12||Alguersuari remains hopeful over F1 seat|
|18 May||Rosberg hopes to capitalise on one-lap pace|
|18 May||Video of the Day: A closer look at braking|
|17 May||Video: Caterham's Spanish GP review|
|More Sebastian Vettel photos|
|More Franz Tost photos|
|More Daniel Ricciardo photos|
|More Jaime Alguersuari photos|