I was reading an article at AUTOSPORT today and while I found it a nice piece, as I usually do with them, I was reminded of the compressed timeline for this year given 21 races and the advanced dates for testing as well as tire selection for the first grand prix.
You see this 2016 season marks new territory of the length of the entire affair and it also has added serious pressure ot Toro Rosso who weren’t sure what engine they would end up with next year.
As the article points out, the delay with Red Bull’s Renault announcement and situating Toro Rosso with 2015 spec Ferrari engines has now added massive pressure to get their car ready for winter testing. Team boss Franz Tost told AUTOSPORT:
“We re-planned the manufacturing processes and decided to go for a three-shift, across seven days, 24 hours to be ready for the first test,” Tost said.
“From Toro Rosso’s side, we can organise everything in the best possible way.
“Our main problem is other suppliers and their Christmas holidays.
“Most of them are closed for a minimum 10 days and this will make it tough for us.”
“We’ve never had to enforce a 24-hour a day shift pattern for this long before.
“In February, the last days before you finish the car, you sometimes have those days but it’s maybe normal for only one or two days.
“But we will have this system in place now for December, January and half of February so two and a half months.
“We have brought in a high number of contractors just for this short period to do this.”
I highlight this because we often think that F1 rolls up its sidewalks and hibernates during the winter but in many respects it is the busiest time of the year for the entire team.
Last year, the small teams were feverishly working away to try and get ready for testing and many of them electing to miss a test or two to save money and buy more time.
The work STR will have to do in order to accommodate the Ferrari power unit and also get on top of its software, how it operates, what parameters they are looking for etc will be a big task.
Much has been made of STR’s possibilities in 2016 with a year-old engine but I reckon the team may surprise a few folks in the hands of two very talented drivers; Carlos Sainz and “Plucky Teen” Max Verstappen.
Depending on the Mercedes advancement and how Williams does with their oversteering chassis out of slow corners, you never know what STR could do given teh simple fact that their chassis was one of the best on the grid in 2015. If they get that right, this little young driver development team could very well punch above its weight and fight with the likes of Williams, Force India and Renault…if not their parent team, Red Bull.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT