James Key says Toro Rosso fielding its “most experienced driver line-up” will be vital for the team to reach its goal of finishing fifth in the 2017 Formula 1 Constructors’ championship.
The Spaniard previously said he was hoping Toro Rosso could finish behind Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren this year, while team principal Franz Tost has often set out top-five targets for his squad.
“For us we’re happy with having a known driver pair,” Key was quoted as saying by The Checkered Flag. “We’re happy having guys we know.
“Importantly it’s the most experienced driver line-up I think the team will have had. They will go into the season allowing us to go and develop our 2017 car with their known and understood feedback, so that will be good.
“It’s an important year for them of course, they will need to show that they’re still capable of being competitive in a driver market that is quite competitive now for younger guys and give themselves opportunities later on as well.”
Toro Rosso has placed seventh in the past three years, despite being hamstrung by Renault’s underpowered engine in 2014 and ’15 and running year-old Ferrari power units last season. Reverting to Renault power this year, the Faenza-based outfit will run current-spec plants during the upcoming season.
Toro Rosso’s best campaign to date came in 2008 when Sebastian Vettel and Sébastien Bourdais propelled it to P6 in the final standings, with the future four-time world champion securing the team’s first and so far only pole position and win at Monza.