Race drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastien Buemi were present for the launch and both drivers will test the car this week as the team prepare for the Australian Grand Prix later this month. The cars pre-season debut contrasts with 2008, when the STR3 did not appear until the sixth round of the championship.
Like sister team Red Bull Racings 2009 car, the STR4s chassis is a product of Red Bull Technology and after seeing the RB5 impress in testing Toro Rosso team prinicipal Franz Tost is upbeat about his squad's prospects for the coming campaign.
“Right from Red Bull Racings first test in Jerez it appeared that the car was competitive straight away and that Adrian Newey and his team had come up with a very promising package,” said Tost. “The car looks good and shows very promising performance.”
Unlike the RB5, however, the STR4 is powered not by Renault but by a Ferrari V8, a fact which makes the two cars quite different, as Toro Rosso technical director Giorgio Ascanelli was keen to stress.
“Red Bull Technology does extremely significant work in defining the essential characteristics of the new car: its length, wheelbase, weight distribution, its basic metric characteristics,” said Ascanelli.
“However, with any F1 car, the packaging revolves around an engine and peculiarities from the drivers and, as we run a different engine to our sister team, it involves a different fuel system and fuel tank. Therefore, ours is completely different to the Red Bull Racing car and is designed here by us.
“The engine mates to a gearbox via some fixings and a clutch. Here again the clutch installation is completely different between the two cars. In fact, the clutch itself is very different and the work of installing clutch and gearbox is also completely done in Faenza, involving a casing designed in Faenza and using completely different technology to the one Red Bull Technology provides to Red Bull Racing. The same goes for the oil and water radiators and the entire hydraulic and electronic systems.”
Toro Rosso and the rest of their rivals are expected to spend four days testing in Barcelona in what is the final multi-team test session before the 2009 world championship gets underway in Melbourne on March 29.