Toro Rosso to ditch Ferrari?
RENAULT POWER FOR TORO ROSSO?Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo tests his team's 2013 F1 contender at the Jerez de la Frontera racetrack.
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
JEREZ, Spain - Toro Rosso is seeking to switch from Ferrari to Renault engines in 2014 to benefit from World champion sister team Red Bull's close links with the French manufacturer.
Team principal Franz Tost said: "We are in negotiations with Renault but no contract signed so far."
Renault has powered Red Bull to its previous three F! Constructors' and Drivers' titles with Sebastian Vettel. Tost said his team would benefit from clear synergies if it made the change.
TORO ROSSO SYNERGY
Tost said: "This for sure would be an advantage because if you are racing with a Renault engine we would have the same gearbox as Red Bull, because this is possible from the regulation side. We will use the synergies that the regulations will allow us to do."
F1 will be starting what is effectively a new era in 2014 when the current V8 engines are ditched in favour of a new turbocharged hybrid V6 using energy recovery systems.
Renault currently supplies four teams to three each for Mercedes and Ferrari and one for Cosworth, which is not expected to stay in F1 beyond 2013.
Red Bull, now with Renault/Nissan's luxury Infiniti brand as title sponsor, is effectively Renault's main partner in F1 although the engines they provide are the same for all customers.
Force India is currently with Mercedes but there is considerable speculation it could switch to Ferrari, with the latter team's academy driver Jules Bianchi possibly included in any deal.
With teams already designing 2014's car because of the significance of the rule changes, Tost said an early decision on the engine was key for smaller teams like his working on tight budgets. "The 2014 season, because of this dramatic change in the regulations, will be a great challenge for all of us... from the technical side as well as the economic.
"You need to know as early as possible who are the partners."
Toro Rosso, which gave its new STR8 car its track debut at Jerez, will race with the same line-up as 2012, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. The car is the first to be designed by a group led by chief designer Luca Furbatto, who joined in 2012, and overseen by technical director James Key.
Ricciardo said the target was to improve on the team's ninth overall in 2012. "The 2013 version of me is a more confident person and driver, with more self-belief than 2012. I've always had the desire and determination to succeed and now I'm ready to reinforce that and let everyone see what I'm all about."