Monaco debut for new Toro Rosso 07 May 2008
After starting the year with a modified version of their 2007 car, Toro Rosso had always intended to give their 2008 machine, the STR3, its first race outing at this weekends Turkish Grand Prix. However, that plan took a setback last month when Sebastien Bourdais crashed the car heavily on its first public test in Spain.
That left the team in a race against time to get enough spares manufactured for Istanbul and they have now opted to put back the cars debut by one round, meaning it will now first appear in the glamorous - but potentially punishing - surroundings of Monte Carlo.
Everyone in the company has worked really hard to try and meet the deadline of running the new car in Turkey, but we had to make the tough call of delaying the arrival of STR3 by one more race, explained chief engineer Laurent Mekies. The main reason is that we do not feel we have enough spare parts to run the new cars in a totally professional manner.
As one can imagine, given the unique nature of the Monaco track and the working conditions at the circuit, this is not an ideal venue to run a new car for the first time. However, everyone is prepared to face the challenge and give it our best shot.
Despite the delay, Toro Rosso insist they are equally keen to give their old car, the STR2B, a good send off in the hands of Bourdais - a newcomer to the technically demanding Istanbul Park circuit - and team mate Sebastian Vettel this weekend.
This will be the first time for Sebastien Bourdais on this track so we have tried to work as much as we could off-track to get him to the right level of preparation for
the coming race, added Mekies. In any case, so far this year, he has shown that he can adapt pretty quickly to a new track.
Sebastian Vettel was already driving for us in Turkey last year: it was his second race with the team and he performed well there. This weekend, we will try and put together all our knowledge about the STR2B for this challenging track, which is one of the few where you can actually overtake other cars! Hopefully we will have some good racing in Istanbul, so that we can end this cars career in style!
Vettel will be confident of improving on his 2007 Turkish result - last year he finished 19th, a lap down on winner Felipe Massa, having started from 18th on the grid.