Scuderia Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost believes that his team should be able to fight its way in to Q3 during the Spanish Grand Prix with the help of new developments it will bring to Barcelona. The STR5 will feature a new engine cover and the car will also carry new brake ducts this weekend.
"Our technical department is working very hard and we will deliver some updates over the forthcoming races and I believe we can step up in terms of our performance level," said Tost. "Specifically for the Spanish Grand Prix, we will introduce new brake ducts and a new engine cover.
"In the last couple of races we already saw an improvement in our package, so in Barcelona, I would hope that if we do everything perfectly, we could get at least one driver through into Qualifying 3 for the first time this season, or if not, then at least very close to 10th on the grid, so that more points has to be a realistic target for us this weekend.
"Both drivers tested here during the winter and for Jaime [Alguersuari] specifically, it is his home race, on the first track of the year that is not new to him, where he has competed on a regular basis in the lower formulae."
Alguersuari added that while this would be his first home grand prix, he did not plan to approach it any differently.
"It is just one more round of the championship," said the 20-year-old. "However, as a home race, all the support from the fans will make a slight difference, in the same way that football teams have an advantage playing a home match. But in the way we will go about doing our work, it will be the same as all the others. Every time I have raced here it is has been special as it is my home track and there is plenty of support for me, making for a great atmosphere.
"This will be the first time I race in the Spanish Grand Prix, and I expect there will be a lot of my friends and fans coming to watch, also because there are several Spanish drivers on the grid this year. One important factor is that this is the first track of the season I have driven on before, so that should make life easier for me."
Toro Rosso also used up one of its allotted "aero" test days during the break between China and Barcelona, with Sebastien Buemi driving the car.
"The aim was a bit more long-term, looking at developments for a bit later in the season," said the Swiss. "The main objective was to validate some of our research work, to see if the track produced the same results and data as we have seen in the wind tunnel.
"It went very well, which with only four aero tests permitted during the year, was very important and the team was pleased with the results we obtained. Now, the engineers have to analyze all the data thoroughly to ensure we move forward in the right direction."