Toro Rosso in for pre-test launch on Jan. 27 in Jerez

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The STR 9 – Scuderia Toro Rosso’s 2014 challenger that will be piloted by veteran Jean-Eric Vergne (pictured) and rookie Daniil Kvyat – is set for launch on the pit lane at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain on Jan. 27 – one day before the first Formula One preseason test of the year begins.

STR is undergoing a bit of a change this year, and not just with Kvyat coming on to replace Daniel Ricciardo, now up at the senior Red Bull team alongside World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

After being powered by Ferrari for seven years, STR is now in line with Red Bull as a Renault-powered operation per their announcement last May at the Monaco Grand Prix.

According to a team statement, Vergne, entering an important third season with STR, will get first crack at the new car in the opening day of testing at Jerez on Jan. 28.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”