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Tech F1i: A closer look at the Toro Rosso STR12

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Besides its striking new livery, the Toro Rosso STR12 has drawn attention for bearing similarities with the Mercedes W08. But there’s more to this than meets the eye, as F1i's Nicolas Carpentiers finds out.



Under the stewardship of technical director James Key, Toro Rosso has been very creative in recent years and devised clever solutions that have found their way onto rival cars. The list includes for instance the roll-hoop air intake with multiple ducts, the rear wing pillar going directly through the exhaust pipe, and the open-end slits on the rear wing endplates.

That said, the nose of the new STR12 looks a lot like the flat and curved design seen on the Silver Arrows since 2015. Faenza’s latest challenger is only one of two cars – the other being the Mercedes W08 – without a thumb tip.

“It's very much an aerodynamic decision from our group, who looked at the various options,” Key said. “It is a different direction to the one we've had - the last two years have been reasonably similar, for us but also for other teams.

“Looking at the various options, that narrow nose and narrow pylon space at the front we felt matched the philosophy we thought was correct for the car at the time.”

The initial version of the Toro Rosso front wing is very similar to the 2016 specification, though the slits in the upper flaps remind of the McLaren design.

After being introduced last year, the ‘S’-duct system has been retained along with its characteristic NACA duct inlets (see white arrow). However, the outlet is now hollow instead of bulging.

We have already mentioned that the elongated nosecone, mandated by the revamped regulations, makes it more enticing for F1 teams to run an ‘S’-duct, whose purpose is to clean and speed up the airflow under and over the nose.