Toro Rosso's technical director Giorgio Ascanelli believes his team should be able to fight in the midfield this season.
Although Toro Rosso has set promising lap times during testing ahead of the first race, Ascanelli is aware that the top teams are too far ahead. The Italian expects Toro Rosso drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi to be fighting with the likes of Renault, Sauber and Williams.
"The first impression (of the STR5) is good, you don't do 600kms in one day by chance," Ascanelli told Autosprint. "The important thing is to resist the performance, considering where we stand, is OK. At Barcelona, which is a beautiful and selective track, we expected to have a few more difficulties compared to Jerez and Valencia. In the first two sessions, Jaime ran in the same lap times as Sebastien, which is good news, because that never happened last year.
"My perception at the moment is that we are where we're supposed to be. You can't even begin to think about comparing yourself to Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes, because the group in front looks too far ahead already. The feeling is that, up to Jerez, we were close to the midfield, with Williams, Renault and Sauber. But then it seemed that, already in the second session at Jerez, Sauber and Renault had done something better, while Williams was already a bit faster than us. However, we can say we shouldn't be too far back."
The Faenza-based squad finished 10th in last year's championship, scoring eight points.