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Bodywork quality boost for Toro Rosso 08 May 2007

Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR2. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 30 April 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton

Paint to replace decals in bid for better aero efficiency

The Toro Rosso team are hoping that improvements to the fit and finish of the STR2’s bodywork, combined with a new aero package, will raise their performance level at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The car has received a significant aerodynamic upgrade since Bahrain, with a new rear wing and new sidepod wings. However, another major part of the update is one that will be far harder for fans to spot from the grandstands.

“We have paid very close attention to the quality of all components that affect the aerodynamics on the car,” explained chief engineer, Laurent Mekies. “As everyone knows, we really had to rush simply to get parts ready for the first three races and the price we paid for rushing was that the quality level was not up to the standard we wanted.

“Now, we have worked on the aero quality of the parts, which involves ensuring that there is a better fit between all the bodywork components. There are a large number of bodywork components and the quality of the fit between them can have a significant effect on their aero efficiency.”

Toro Rosso’s aerodynamic efforts ahead of Barcelona also include work on the flexibility, or rather the stiffness, of parts to ensure they do not flex in the wind, and even going as far as revising the application of the car’s livery to make for a smoother body surface.

"We have worked hard on the quality of the surface of our aero parts to get more performance out of them and to this end, we have now removed all the stickers from the bodywork and replaced them with paint,” said Mekies. “This not only makes for a smoother less resistant surface, it also brings with it a weight saving benefit. From an aesthetic point of view, the car also looks much nicer!

“We believe this pursuit of efficiency is just as important as getting something like new barge boards or wing endplates. We are paying attention to detail and going for a quality product, optimising what we have. This is an ongoing task in an area where you are constantly striving to improve. The result of our efforts is that we should be in better shape for Barcelona than we were at the first three races."

Mekies is also optimistic that the four-week break between races, combined with last week’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya, has allowed the team to get a proper handle on the technical problems that hampered Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed at the opening three rounds of the season.

"Over the first three Grands Prix, we had two reliability failures in the races. When you start the year with three flyaway races, you have to come up with interim solutions to fix reliability issues, while now we believe we have worked out proper solutions for the faults that caused the two retirements we have suffered to date."

Toro Rosso’s best 2007 placing so far has been 14th - for Liuzzi in Australia and for Speed in Malaysia.