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No frustration for Toro Rosso over Renault F1 engine deficit

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Toro Rosso Formula 1 chief Franz Tost says there is no frustration over the power deficit of the Renault engine used by the team, citing confidence in the French manufacturer to make gains in the coming races.

Toro Rosso’s weakest area through 2016 was power after it opted to use Ferrari’s 2015-spec engines, meaning development was frozen for the entire year.

With relations between parent team Red Bull and Renault once again cordial, Toro Rosso moved back to a current-year supply for 2017, only to for there to be a power deficit compared to the Ferrari and Mercedes power units.

Toro Rosso currently sits fifth in the F1 constructors’ championship, with Carlos Sainz Jr. scoring its best result of the season so far last time out in Monaco, finishing sixth.

Renault has promised engine updates will arrive in the next few races, and Tost is pleased with the progress that is being made, even if it is gradual.

“Renault is making some small steps,” Tost said. “First of all, they have to get everything under control from the reliability side. We must not forget that Renault came up with a completely new design of an engine and this takes time.

“We all know that the power unit now is very very complicated and I’m convinced that within the second half of the season they will provide us with a very good, powerful engine. I must say that so far we are quite happy with the performance with Renault.”

While Red Bull remains frustrated by the performance of its power unit as it looks to gain ground on rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, Tost said Toro Rosso remains relaxed, particularly in light of its struggles in 2016.

“There’s no frustration. It always depends where you are coming from,” Tost said.

“Last year we had a one year-old engine and now we are even happy to have this year’s engine and as I just mentioned before, I’m convinced that Renault will do the steps forward which they promised.”

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.