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Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso seem mired in trouble despite bullish statements by their blunt part owner Gerhard Berger. Currently they only have one driver, Tonio Liuzzi, who  continues to build a reputation as being fast but not always reliable, having survived more than a few offs in 2006.

The car barely made to its own launch only finished that morning and has created a storm by looking very like an RB3 clone which some team owners say is against the rules, whereas Berger says it’s a customer car and within the rules, the issue may yet go to court.

So late are they that the team only made the last day of testing in Valencia and only racked up 43 shakedown laps.

"The last few weeks have been a real rush for all of us, " said Chief Engineer, Laurent Mekies. "So it was great to see our new car finally running and completing a respectable 43 laps. This was very much a shakedown and systems check, with no thought of setting quick lap times. Now, we must push very hard over the coming weeks to make up for the fact we have only started running quite late. Like everyone else, our next step is the test at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain, starting on 22 February."

 

Spyker

So, finally we come to Spyker and, to use a biblical turn of phrase, Jordan begat Midland begat Spyker, now Dutch and with hopes of clawing their way off the rear of the grid.

The team were late to launch and did their early testing at Silverstone in monsoon conditions so they have a lot of catching up to do but I have lot of respect for Mike Gascoyne and believe he will develop a good car for them.

In their first test with the new F8-VII at the Circuit de Catalunya on the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain. Christian Albers covered 405km, bringing the car's overall testing mileage to more than 1, 600km, all without major mechanical problem.

Chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, “The programme today concentrated mainly on understanding the Bridgestone tyres and getting them to work consistently over the long runs and on the first lap when new. It proved a little bit difficult to get a hold of them and we could only do a limited amount of set up work, but we did get some answers and now move forward in very good shape. From a reliability point of view, there have been no real mechanical issues and we were able to complete our programme. Congratulations to everyone back at factory and at the track who've worked so hard to get the car here.”

Christijan Albers reported, "Today we did make some progress with the times; of course we would have liked to make more time compared to yesterday, but we did our best and the team is working really hard and putting in the hours to improve. I'm quite happy with results; as a racing driver, you always want to go faster and I think we're doing a reasonable job to achieve this. We know we still have a way to go, but at least we are able to fight. I'm happy that I did a lot of miles and laps as it makes me stronger as a driver before the start of the season."

The team’s aspirations are to be reliable and become a regular mid field runner both of which aims seem achievable in 2007.

Article © 2007 Graham Benge

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