The 2013 Formula One season may have been one to forget for Jenson Button as the British driver has failed to finish any higher than fifth throughout the course of the year due to the pace of the McLaren MP4-28 car. However, in a career of ups and downs, it is nothing new for the former world champion although both he and McLaren will be keen on bouncing back in 2014 with the new raft of regulations ahead of Honda’s return to the sport in 2015.
Talking to NBC Sports’ Will Buxton ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, Button spoke about his love for the race in Japan, his team’s performance this season and his leadership style.
James Key notes similarities between Toro Rosso, Mercedes 2017 F1 cars
After returning to current-year power units courtesy of Renault, hopes are high at Faenza that Toro Rosso could be the surprise package of F1 in 2017, particularly given the change in the regulations.
Speaking to reporters following the STR12’s launch, Key was quick to note that Toro Rosso appeared to have coincidentally gone down a similar path to Mercedes when it came to interpreting the new regulations.
“I looked at the Mercedes and thought: ‘Ah, OK. They’ve got our front suspension’. Most people will say we’ve got Mercedes’ front suspension,” Key said, as quoted by Reuters.
“The nose is similar, the front of the side pods is similar, even the bodywork of the sidepods is similar. Let’s just hope the engines are similar!”
Despite being on the same wavelength as the three-time reigning constructors’ championship-winning team, Key admitted he felt a twinge of disappointment.
“On the one hand we were pleased to see someone else has done a similar thing; on the other hand we were disappointed that we weren’t the only team to think of something,” Key said.
“There are many different concepts out there, actually.”
Toro Rosso finished seventh in last year’s constructors’ championship, having spent the latter part of the season largely hamstrung by the 2015-spec Ferrari engine it was using.
Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat return for another year with Toro Rosso in 2017, with the first public running of the STR12 coming in the next few days at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Scuderia Toro Rosso has completed a busy launch week for Formula 1 by unveiling its new STR12 car that will race in 2017.
As rumored, Toro Rosso presented a car with a drastically different livery to the one that has been present for much of its time in F1, varying from the dark blue and red colors the Red Bull sister team has been known for.
Now a metallic blue becomes the primary color for the car, with silver and red highlights being used for the Red Bull branding.
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat were on-hand to unveil the STR12, which sported a radical new look to fall in line with the new technical regulations in F1 for 2017.
Most noticeable on the car is the addition of a ‘shark fin’ to the engine cover, something that the majority of teams have ran with for their launches so far.
The team also released a launch video showing the STR12 enjoying its first on-track test.
Toro Rosso ended last year seventh in the constructors’ championship, but suffered a dip in form towards the end of the season after sticking with 2016-spec Ferrari power units.
For 2017, the team will once again link up with Renault and use current-year engines, giving it the chance to compete throughout the campaign.
Sainz was one of F1’s unsung heroes through 2017, leading Toro Rosso’s charge following Max Verstappen’s promotion into a Red Bull seat four races into the year.
After spending the middle part of the season regaining his confidence after moving in the opposite direction to Verstappen, Kvyat looked much stronger in the final flyaways, doing enough to secure a seat with Toro Rosso f0r 2017 in the process.
The STR12 has already completed a filming run at Misano in Italy, but will hit the track publicly for the first time on Monday with the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona.