Toro Rosso believes there is a handful of teams who are likely to battle in the midfield this season and expect the fight to be as ‘competitive’ as ever.
The Italian outfit is aiming to run at the front of the midfield pack with the new STR12, designed by technical director James Key.
Having run with a year-old Ferrari engine last year, the team are hoping their new Renault power unit can boost them further forward up the pecking order.
Asked at the first test who was likely to be Toro Rosso’s main challengers, Key replied: “I think Haas looks quite reasonable, they are looking in reasonable shape.
“We have to see how that develops next week and into Melbourne. But they have done a good job.
“Renault. It could be tight with them, we have to see. They look on balance more competitive than they did last year. Williams is difficult to tell at the moment and I think it is difficult to tell with Force India as well.”
Having not mentioned Sauber or McLaren in that bracket of potential rivals this season, Key admitted it was too early to predict where both teams lie at this moment in time.
“No disrespect to them but you asked me to pinpoint who I thought was good…. I don’t think we can tell from either of those two teams at this stage,” he added.
“I guess McLaren like us have had the dramas this week. Clearly, they haven’t put a full programme at this stage so I don’t think it is easy to comment, but I am sure everyone is very fast.”