Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have launched the 2013 Toro Rosso STR8

Designers opt for full vanity plate and smooth nose

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 05/02/13 9:06am

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Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have launched the 2013 Toro Rosso, the STR8, at Jerez ahead of the first winter test.

Interestingly the team have opted not to follow the example of sister-team Red Bull Racing and have fitted a vanity plate to the nose of the car.

Toro Rosso slipped down the F1 pecking order in 2012 and will be hoping the STR8 will once again see them challenging for a spot in Q3 and regular points.

As will Ricciardo and Vergne, who enter their second full season with the team, who are not shy of making driver changes, with highly-rated Red Bull youngster Antonio Felix da Costa waiting for his F1 chance.

Testing on Sky Sports

From dawn to dusk, Sky Sports Online will be providing live interactive commentary from trackside at both Jerez and Barcelona on every day of testing this winter, while Sky Sports News will be providing regular live updates from the tests, starting with Jerez on February 5-8.

A round-up show featuring the day's interviews from Jerez will go out at 9pm each evening of the test on Sky Sports F1.

The car is the first by Chief Designer Luca Furbatto, who joined the team from McLaren in December 2011, whilst the project was overseen by James Key, who joined from Sauber last autumn.

Despite testing ahead of the 2013 season not even having started, Team Principal Franz Tost hinted at the launch that the team were already looking ahead to 2014.

"Formula 1 is approaching a new era, specifically in 2014 and at Toro Rosso, we have already made significant changes to our structure both in terms of manpower and facilities to be ready for that," the Austrian said.

"We believe the changes made will also help in the short term for this coming season and combined with the fact that Daniel and Jean-Eric are more experienced, now that they have a season with us under their belts, we start winter testing in a mood of justified optimism."

Whatever the changes that have been made in Faenza, the drivers have noticed a change in atmosphere at the team.

"I spent most of the winter Down Under and when I came back into the factory I could feel a very positive atmosphere with everyone excited about the new car," commented Ricciardo, whilst Vergne added: "I sense a new philosophy within Toro Rosso - I wouldn't say people are working harder, but maybe they are going in a better direction."

Unlike Ricciardo, Vergne had no previous F1 race experience when he took to the grid in Melbourne last year and he is hopeful of building on a strong rookie season in 2013.

"Going into this season is a completely different experience to this time last year, when I had to deal with a lot of unknowns," the Frenchman said.

"I had to learn the majority of tracks, understand so many details about Formula 1 and adapt to working with the team. This year, I will still be learning - you never stop in Formula 1 - but the basics are there and I will be able to focus on more important aspects of the job."

The 2013 car launches
Lotus - January 28th, Enstone.
McLaren - January 31st, Woking.
Force India - February 1st, Silverstone.
Ferrari - February 1st, Maranello.
Sauber - February 2nd, Hinwil.
Red Bull - February 3rd, Milton Keynes.
Mercedes - February 4th, Jerez.
Toro Rosso - February 4th, Jerez.
Caterham - February 5th, Jerez.
Marussia - February 5th, Jerez.
Williams - February 19th, Barcelona.

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