Toro Rosso “have taken a step but it’s not enough” – Key

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Force India technical director James Key believes his team have made progress and haven’t just capitalized on the problems experienced by their rivals.

“Williams have had a tricky start to this season,” Key conceded in an interview for Motorsport Monday. “We expected them to be more competitive than they are – as I’m sure they did.”

But, he added: “I think we have improved because if you look at the lap times at the front of the field it’s much closer than it was last year and we are getting our cars into Q3.”

“We have taken a step but it’s not enough. We still need that extra bit of lap time to put us up there with Force India and McLaren.”

Key says Toro Rosso will not halt development work on their current car too hastily in order to prepare for next year’s radical change in rules:

“I still feel we have to make some noticeable steps. There is definitely more in the car and we kind of know where that is and it’s just getting it there. We have a plan that takes our development quite late into the season.

“It’s obviously a massive balancing act with the regulation changes for next year. Nothing really carries over for next year, which is a real shame because really you need a couple of years in a team to get momentum.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.