Sainz to open F1 testing for Toro Rosso in Barcelona

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Scuderia Toro Rosso has confirmed its driver schedule for the first Formula 1 pre-season test in Barcelona next month.

Toro Rosso’s 2016 car – set to be named the STR11 – will hit the track for the first time on February 22 at the start of the first test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Italian team has retained drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. for 2016 after both enjoyed impressive rookie campaigns.

Toro Rosso confirmed to MotorSportsTalk that Sainz will get the first run behind the wheel of the STR11 on the opening day of testing before handing the reins over to Verstappen for day two.

Sainz will return to the car on day three, with Verstappen closing out the first test on February 25.

The Barcelona test will be the team’s first opportunity to try out the 2015-spec Ferrari engine after switching from Renault in the off-season.

Team principal Franz Tost admitted late last year that it would be tight for Toro Rosso to ready for the first test after the late change in power unit, but all appears to be going to plan so far for the Italian squad.