Toro Rosso to Produce 2011 F1 Surprise?

While everybody is looking at Renault, Mercedes GP or even Williams F1 as to the teams that will improve the most in Formula 1 through the upcoming campaign, one surprise appearance in that discussion might be that of Faenza-based squad Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Only two years after beginning to design their own car in the series, the Italians seem to have gotten it right, as the latest results in testing suggest the STR6 will not be the backmarker everyone was expecting to be through 2011. Referring to the aforementioned racer, Swiss newspaper Blick said the Ferrari-powered car is a “Wunder Auto” (wonder car).

The latest proof that Toro Rosso means business for the 2011 F1 campaign came on Saturday, when Jaime Alguersuari scored a lap time only 2 tenths of a second shy of Sebastian Vettel's fastest lap on the Circuit de Catalunya.

I know very well the conditions under which I did my fastest lap,” said the Spanish driver, addressing claims that his fast lap time last weekend was just another “show lap” for sponsors, meant to cause the wrong impression inside the paddock. “Believe me ... I am more than satisfied,” he added.

Prior to the testing period this February, Scuderia Toro Rosso was targeted by the newly-entered Team Lotus and Marussia Virgin as the first team to be caught in the standings. When they unveiled their 2011-spec challengers, both teams publicly admitted that their first goal for 2011 will be to catch up with Red Bull's sister team, and only after aim higher in the classification.

In addition to having a better car than last year, STR will also enjoy some strong in-team competition between drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, both pressured by reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo to perform well this year. Alguersuari recently admitted that he will be “at war” with Buemi through 2011, as he aims to convince the Red Bull officials that he deserves a seat with the Milton Keynes based squad for the 2012 campaign.
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