Q: How did Toro Rosso approach the new aero regulations for 2019?
JE: One of the intended purposes of the 2019 regulation changes was to reduce the amount of outwash generated, which leaves us with the challenge of reconstructing the required flow structures to recover the lost load within the scope of the new regulations. Although the front wing width has been increased, we’ve lost the winglets and the elements which were on the outboard portion of the main plane and the endplate itself is simplified. Together with the simplification of the front brake ducts, the opportunities for generating the required flow structures and positioning them where you want are different, and require you to recover the size and trajectory of the front wheel wakes and flow structures by identifying key areas for aerodynamic development and exploiting these to the maximum. The aero and design groups have worked hard to achieve this, whilst in parallel also focusing on aspects of the aero development process, focusing on developing a car concept which permits sustainable and regular aero development without the need for major architectural changes. This approach will be required to aerodynamically develop the key areas of the car quickly as a rolling development in season, as we expect to see a rapid development phase early on.
Q: Has the design and development process changed from last year’s car to the STR14? If so, what’s different?
JE: A number of changes have been put in place regarding how we develop the 2019 car, including the approach to how we develop the car aerodynamically. This was a topic which had been under review for a while and whilst there is never an ideal time for such a change, based on what we had learned in 2018 it was decided that now was the time to introduce these changes. Although the timescale for some of these changes was tight, and in the short term these changes have generated some extra work, the development rate of the 2019 car is now strong and responding well to the aero developments being evaluated in CFD and the wind tunnel. Regarding development targets, we have developed a number of metrics which allow specific areas of the car’s aerodynamic performance to be tracked and evaluated. This will allow our aero updates to be better targeted against specific identified needs. Ultimately, it’s the rate at which we’re developing and how quickly we can get these updates onto the car which remains the primary focus. In addition, of equal importance is arriving with updates which bring load to the right areas of the map and which correlate well. In some respects, this is different to the approach of focusing on aero packages, however by adopting a ‘rolling’ development – especially following a regulation change – there is potential for faster reaction and a more straightforward approach to correlation.
Q: There’s a lot of talk about “synergies” with Toro Rosso receiving parts from Red Bull Technology, how has this impacted the STR14 Design?
JE: Nothing has changed in terms of the design process of laying the car out, we just have a few less variables to play with. However, within the framework of a fixed amount of available resource, this can provide an opportunity as it allows more focus on other areas of the car concept which in turn can bring performance. In our case, it has allowed increased focus on the design of the chassis structure, packaging of the brake ducts and front suspension, and the integration of the fuel and cooling systems into the chassis. All of this results in packaging and mass reduction benefits and provides the team with more potential for aero development. The chassis itself, as per regulations, is a complete Toro Rosso design and IP as is the front outboard suspension, along with all aspects of the cooling systems, power unit installation & steering column. The ‘rear end’ has been provided by Red Bull Technology and the key change for Toro Rosso, being that we are taking a gearbox casing and rear suspension although many of the internals of the gearbox are similar to parts we have used in the past. Having committed to parts supply from Red Bull Technology, a lot of effort has to be put to integrate everything as well as possible and of course, this remains under the sole control of Toro Rosso. In that respect, we’re excited to join Toro Rosso and Red Bull Technology. Synergy is a concept we as a team have embraced, it has several positives which gives us the ability to refocus our design effort on other areas and resources that come with it, whilst receiving parts which are proven trackside.
Q: Toro Rosso will enter its second season using Honda power, how has work progressed over the winter and what has been the effect of Red Bull Racing joining the Honda family?
JE: We were very impressed at the development rate from Honda during the second half of last season. Now that Red Bull Racing will be using Honda power in 2019, they will be able to take ownership of a lot of the dyno activity and play an important role in the development of the PU. On the design side, we’ve been able to put more resource into the integration of the car systems, PU integration, and cooling package integration. In terms of in-house manufacturing and assembly, with synergy and Red Bull Racing taking the Honda PU, we have been able to reallocate resource to different activity which has provided some benefit in terms of adding capacity to some areas which up to now were maybe limited. Generally, there are many positives for having a focussed approach to which parts of the car originate in Toro Rosso and which parts are purchased. We now have an even more flexible design office and the people involved have really embraced the synergy project and taken on board new challenges.
Q: How do you see the development of the Honda Power Unit faring over the course of this season?
JE: Following some good steps made during 2018, we expect continued strong development of the power unit in 2019 and with two teams now using this PU, the potential for this has increased. The key benefit in having two teams using this PU is that it provides Honda with a lot more data and feedback which will speed up the development, optimisation, and fault resolution process. Regarding how we have all worked together so far, I’d say the process has been very productive, and we’ve arrived at sound common solutions quite easily without excessive compromise. Having a rear end supplied by Red Bull Technology makes this challenge easier in some respects, but of course there are still challenges to overcome, as is typically the case anyway.
In general, the cooperation process between the three teams has been quite straight forward and the process of discussion and review has been quite efficient. We only see this improving further as the relationship progresses, hopefully allowing both teams to arrive at a better package and allow Honda to continue to develop at a fast rate. However, the more you close the gap the harder it gets to continue closing, but that won’t deter us from striving to move up the field.