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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scuderia Toro Rosso STR2B

Scuderia Toro Rosso has confirmed its new car will not be ready in time for the start of the 2008 Formula 1 campaign, meaning it will head into the opening grand prix weekend in Melbourne in under two months' time with an updated version of its 2007-spec STR2.

Far from putting the team at a disadvantage, though, Sebastian Vettel argues the late arrival may even hand STR an early benefit as the season gets underway. The young German is entering his maiden full campaign in the top flight in 2008, having impressed for both BMW and STR last year by scoring six points from just eight races and running up in third position in the rain-lashed Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji. What's more, he has shone in winter testing too, regularly featuring well up inside the top ten during multi-team tests and even topping the timesheets at Jerez in December.

"At the moment [the car] looks and feels really good," Vettel told the official F1 website during last week's Valencia test, where both he and team-mate Sébastien Bourdais continued to hone the Italian outfit's existing machine. "We will get the new car after the first three or four races so we will start the season with an evolution of the 2007 car, the STR2B.

"I see it as a benefit to start the season with a car I know and one that has overcome reliability issues in the last quarter of the '07 season. Let's wait and see if we are not doing better with proven material than many others in their brand new machines having to overcome teething problems."

Indeed, the STR2 displayed impressive form towards the end of last season, with eight points all in one go in the penultimate race in China the best result in its F1 history and one that launched the sister squad to Red Bull Racing up into seventh spot in the constructors' standings in one fell swoop. Vettel warned, however, that there would be no room for resting on laurels if the team is to make a further step up the grid in 2008.

"We have to push the STR2B forward," the 20-year-old asserted. "We also have to see that the development of the STR3 goes in the right direction so we have a competitive car right away, as by that time all the other teams will have solved many of their teething problems."

The STR3 is expected to make its competitive grand prix debut in April.

Toro Rosso logo

The new Toro Rosso

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