Toro Rosso Unveils STR 9 Challenger In Spain

Toro Rosso returns with its 2014 challenger with the same paint design, but now with the car powered by Renault engines. [Photo by Sutton Images]

JEREZ, Spain- Becoming the first team to launch their 2014 entry one day before the first test of the season, Team Toro Rosso launched their new STR 9 challenger Monday with a few changes in the program compared to the previous season.

Although Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne returns for his third season at the Red Bull sponsored team, rookie Russian Danii Kvyat grabs the second seat, which was vacated last season when Australian Daniel Riccardo upgraded his position and was promoted to the senior Red Bull Racing Team. He will be joining three time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

The car itself has retained the same livery it has had for many seasons, featuring like most of the teams this year, a prominent nose. Another major factor in the team is the change to Renault engines instead of Ferrari, in which the team has been using since it began. The advantage it also has with the French engines is that it can work with it’s senior Red Bull team on some engine aspects, but not all of them.

After viewing the first two launches on the internet, there was a huge relief that this particular unveiling was done live at a circuit, something that technical director James Key is glad about, knowing that the car’s first test tomorrow will just be the first opportunity to make adjustments.

“This is a platform to run the power unit at the moment,” he said. “There is a lot of stuff to come and there are a lot of ideas which are emerging. We’ll see them when the season begins. This isn’t a performance week, it’s a reliability week. We’ve got this opportunity now to learn the measure of the power unit and how well we are managing it with the chassis and the drivers will get a feel for how the car is behaving. We then have a gap until the Bahrain test when we can address a lot of that stuff with Renault as is required.”

“We’re using the gearbox internals with Red Bull and it’s allowed us to discuss the same conditions that you get from the power unit. That’s worked very well and the relationship with Red Bull is working very well for us. There’s not that much you can do beyond that little bit of stuff that is related to the engine, and beyond that you very quickly get to the chassis side.”

Mercedes, Caterham and Red Bull are due to make their launches at this track in which the first test will begin Tuesday morning for a few teams.

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