Scuderia Toro Rosso plans to wait until the Monaco Grand Prix to deliver the first major update to its car, with the team optimistic it has the platform to fight with Williams, Sauber and Force India.
The Italian-based team's aggressive STR6 has delivered an encouraging step forward in form, and the squad has already penciled in when it plans to deliver developments to help boost its chance of fighting for more points. Toro Rosso's chief engineer Laurent Mekies said that there were plans for two major update packages, the first of which would be in Monte Carlo.
"We have planned major steps for car development during the year, that have been established since before the start of the season," he said. "At some point preseason, you have to sign off the car to go into production to be built and maybe you have a good idea for a component the next day, so these are the building blocks for your next development update.
"This has indeed been the case with us and we will see a significant step introduced in Monaco and another one later in the season. These two steps are planned and will hopefully provide good performance improvements, however, it is also true that with minimal testing allowed, we have been trying different setups at the races and these can lead you down different paths in terms of ride height, or the type of springs to use, or in terms of the aero balance on the car and these elements can also impact on the development strategy for the car."
Mekies said that Toro Rosso's design team had done a good job with its new car, and that left it capable of regularly fighting for points.
"From a Toro Rosso point of view, we discovered more or less what we had expected after the winter testing when the car proved to be well born," he said. "At the first race, we found we had a reasonable race pace and our direct competition came, as expected from Williams, Force India and Sauber and we found ourselves fighting these guys throughout the opening three races of the championship.
"Our STR6 appeared to have the potential to fight them, which was good news. Qualifying went well in all three races, converting that into points in Melbourne, but not in the next two rounds, but I think that from a performance level, we were right there at all three races. However, it is part of the game that in some races you manage to put everything together properly and in others you do not: this happened to us, it can also happen to our opponents and this explains our position, just trailing a few points behind Sauber in the table.
"We are going to have an interesting fight with these three or four teams all season long – if you like, this is our championship battle within the championship."