Pierre Gasly of Scuderia Toro Rosso and France and Brendon Hartley of Scuderia Toro Rosso and New Zealand during day two of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 27, 2018 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly are satisfied with their 2018 season winter testing sessions with Scuderia Toro Rosso. Testing has been nothing less than a success. The Red Bull junior team, at times not given their full respect in Formula One, appear stronger in 2018 with the new backing of Honda engineering.

Toro Rosso drivers satisfied with testing ahead of Melbourne GP

The 21-year old Gasly, and the [relatively] more experienced Hartley have both completed pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain. The first test was curtailed due to harsh winter conditions. Yet when they were each able to accumulate a number of consistent laps, they each demonstrated speed and consistency which is a positive for the Toro Rosso team.

Each delivered consistency, which had been badly missing at the end of 2017.

If the time to ‘get motivated’ is now, then both of the team’s drivers appear to be wholly motivated to correct obvious issues seen in the last part of the season. Under Renault power, on several occasions, the Toro Rosso team was unable to complete a Grand Prix.

So with the new support of Honda as engine suppliers, the Toro Rosso team has a new enthusiasm which is a breath of fresh air for the Red Bull group.

Team principal Franz Tost told Sky Sports “We are happy with the Honda engine which is doing a fantastic job”. The choice has seemingly been a good one so far, as seen during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Honda Engines might be the panacea for Toro Rosso

If the evidence of testing alone can be used to predict the season ahead, then Gasly and Hartley will enjoy favourable positions on the track. 822 laps completed, with a commendable placing on the timesheets. Gasly finished with a best time of 1:20.973s in early testing and was the best performer, before finishing with the sixth best time overall (1:18.363).

Impressive, and that is with a package that is yet untested. Although, Formula 1 is the most intense ‘test scenario’ all teams can experience, the junior Red Bull team is extremely positive of their early indications. The engines and more importantly, the support from Honda Racing, gives the drivers confidence.

“We have a huge team working just for us. I think there are more than 30 people from Honda at this one test for one car”. And the consensus is that Toro Rosso and Honda passed their first test together with flying colours.

“I think if we score points in Melbourne that would be a job well done,” Hartley explained to NZME. “I am not going to stand here and tell you we have a chance of winning though.”

In no way is Toro Rosso in an exalted position, however even McLaren could be reconsidering their new arrangement with Renault. But the proof will be on the track. When all testing is complete, practice over, qualifying ended, and the only metric left is ‘who finishes on the track’ on race day.

Toro Rosso is looking good. Their drivers appear satisfied with testing. And by the time that the flag is lowered at the 2018 Melbourne Grand Prix, the truth will be found.

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