Daniel Ricciardo believes that Scuderia Toro Rosso's strong start in testing with the new STR7 is crucial given the inexperience of the Italian team's rookie driver line-up.
Ricciardo has started only 11 grands prix, while teammate Jean-Eric Vergne will make his race debut in Australia next month. This means that the reliability and driver-friendliness of the new machine has allowed the pair to focus on their driving and improving the car rather than getting bogged-down in troubleshooting.
"Yes, every little bit will help us because we are not that experienced at this level," said Ricciardo. "We will learn if something happens and we have to solve it but in the early days it's good to have something we can get more comfortable with. It's important that we are getting the laps rather than scratching our heads thinking about what we are doing."
Ricciardo, who ended the second day of testing third fastest, one second off pacesetter Michael Schumacher's 2011-specification Mercedes, has found the car relatively easy to drive. While some teams have found it harder to achieve a good balance, the STR has proved to be user-friendly.
"It has been quite pleasant," said Ricciardo. "We kept it on the track and didn't have any moments that got me too worried. I'm happy with the balance and it's a good base to work from.
"The front and the rear seem to be working well together. It [the balance] is not changing drastically from corner entry to exit with the rear and front not talking to each other. So far, it looks all right. It's still early and we don't want to get too carried away, but it's nice to feel positive."
Vergne takes over the Toro Rosso on Thursday and will also drive on the final day of the test.