Toro Rosso’s new STR9 breaks cover in Jerez

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Scuderia Toro Rosso have unofficially kicked off Formula One’s week of testing at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain by revealing its new Renault-powered STR9 car for the 2014 season.

The event took place in the pits at Jerez, with team drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and rookie Daniil Kvyat in attendance.

STR veteran Vergne is expected to run the first laps in the new car when testing officially begins tomorrow morning. However, the car has already hit the track in a shakedown run as part of a filming day last week at Italy’s Misano circuit.

The front end of the car features an anteater-style nose, enabling the STR9 to fit in with other 2014 cars that have been unveiled so far this winter.

“The new rules have required a completely new design philosophy, starting with a clean sheet of paper,” STR team principal Franz Tost said in press materials about the new car.

“Having invested in new staff and facilities over the past few years, we have been able to tackle the task of designing and building the STR9 with a group of engineers and designers that have been working on the project since Day 1, under the leadership of [technical director] James Key. That stability has been of great benefit, while in other areas, we hope that changes we have introduced will also bring a step up in performance.”

Multiple teams, including reigning World Champions Red Bull and Mercedes, are slated to launch their own 2014 cars tomorrow in Jerez.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.