Toro Rosso unveil 2009 F1 car

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The Independent Online

Toro Rosso presented their new STR4 Formula One car today with team boss Franz Tost recognising they would struggle to live up to last year's race-winning performance.

"All race teams should have the same targets: to win every race they enter," he said before France's Sebastien Bourdais completed the first laps in testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

"Of course, this is not going to happen and even matching our 2008 showing will be difficult, as the sport enters a new era.

"Therefore our target has to be to leave every race track on a Sunday night knowing we have done the best job we could."

Germany's Sebastian Vettel produced a major upset when he won the team's home Italian Grand Prix from pole position at Monza last September to become Formula One's youngest race winner at the age of 21.

Toro Rosso also scored 39 points, more than ever before, and finished sixth overall and one place ahead of sister team Red Bull.

Vettel has since moved to Red Bull, with 20-year-old Swiss Sebastien Buemi replacing him as the sport's sole rookie and youngest driver on the starting grid when the season starts in Australia on 29 March.

Bourdais, whose career had hung in the balance until February, is retained for a second season after a difficult debut.

Toro Rosso's car is designed by the Adrian Newey-led Red Bull Technology, but differs from the Red Bull in having a Ferrari engine and KERS energy recovery system rather than the other team's Renault package.

Technical director Giorgio Ascanelli, whose team have to design their own chassis from next year under the current rules, said the car already had very different systems to the Red Bull.

While the bigger teams have shed staff since last season, with cost-cutting measures including a ban on testing during the season and a need for far fewer engines, Tost said Italy-based Toro Rosso had bucked the trend.

"The team is bigger, having expanded its facility in Faenza and we have taken on more staff," he said, adding that test team members had been allocated other roles.

The significant changes to the technical regulations, with greatly revised aerodynamics and a switch to slick tyres, possed more of a challenge however.

"Historically, whenever rules have changed significantly, it is always the bigger, more established teams who have the technical resources and experience to react quickly in adapting to those changes," said Tost.

"It was the long period of stability in the rules which allowed Toro Rosso to be so competitive last year."