Toro Rosso sure fifth place still possible

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz can help Toro Rosso deliver its pre-season target of a top five place in the Formula 1 championship this year if the team gets a better grip on reliability, says boss Franz Tost.

The Faenza-based outfit showed impressive speed in the first half of the campaign, but a high numbers of race retirements frustrated its efforts to score points.

But with the potential of the car clear for all to see, Tost thinks that if the outfit can get a handle on reliability, then it can end the campaign shadowing sister team Red Bull in the constructors' championships.

"In the last years I always said that normally in 2016, the team should be really in a position to fight for top five in the constructors' championship," Tost told Motorsport.com.

"At the beginning of this season I thought it could also be the case this year, because I saw the car testing and I knew the results from the wind tunnel.

"Therefore I was quite convinced that we could achieve this goal.

"I am still on the side to think that we can do it because our direct competitors are not so far away, but we must score points otherwise it is simply not possible."

Reliability focus

Although some of Toro Rosso's retirements have been down to Renault engine failures, Tost also makes clear his team has not been error-free.

The team has suffered nine non-finishes this season in 10 races, with spins, crashes, electrical faults and wheel issues costing it valuable points.

Tost added: "We have a very, very good car. We have two really high-skilled drivers who are doing a fantastic job. The team is improving and getting better, but our main problem is reliability.

"Not finishing these races means I cannot be satisfied or happy about this. That is very, very frustrating, especially when I review back where the cars did not finish the races.

"In Australia, where Max for me did one of the best races so far, unfortunately he did not get the fruits because he had a failure on the power unit. I am convinced he could have finished in sixth or seventh place.

"It was the same in China, when I think two laps or three laps to go we had another power unit failure.

"Nearly every race we had some issues, not only with power units, but also the team itself made some mistakes. There was one in Silverstone when an electric box was fixed by a wrong screw which caused the failure on Carlos' car.

"And as well as on Carlos' car in Bahrain, we had a problem caused by the team – which means there is a lot of work in front of us. I just hope in the second half of the season our cars will see more often the chequered flag."

Chassis good enough for podium

Tost has no doubts about the strength of the Toro Rosso chassis, which has shown on GPS data to be every match for the pace-setting Mercedes car in high-speed corners.

"The aerodynamics are working very well. In some high speed corners we are sometimes equal to Mercedes and not much slower than them; and from this side, the team did really a very good job."

When asked whether the team would be regular podium contenders if it had a Mercedes or Ferrari engine he said "We would for sure be close to the podium and sometimes fighting for the podium.

"But the reality is that currently we are far away from the podium. Nevertheless we continue to work very concentrated and the team is still very motivated because sooner or later we will get the good results."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. , Max Verstappen
Teams Toro Rosso
Article type Breaking news