Toro Rosso have been out of the limelight for the first four flyaway races and it is down to their lack of pace. What is good to see is that the two Red Bull protégées Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have been battling it out between themselves to make a mark in the eyes of Dr. Helmut Marko and Christian Horner. Qualifying sessions have been disasters for the team so far with Vergne struggling to make it out of even Q1 on some occasions. The race pace has been better but it has taken some favourable circumstances for them to earn the 6 points so far.
Like Force India, Toro Rosso need to find some significant improvements in lap times if they want to regularly feature inside the top 10 on Sundays. Gaining a few tenths can prove very handy in helping them qualify higher up the grid and fight amongst the top teams.
Marussia F1 Team
It has been a dream start for Marussia as they are currently placed 10th in the standings ahead of the much faster KERS-equipped Caterham cars. After having not run their 2012 car in preseason testing, it is very commendable that they have shown good reliability and both cars have regularly finished the races.
Their main aim during the test would be to reduce the gap to Caterham in qualifying as well as race trim so that they can retain the 10th position which will provide significant financial boost to the team. They are not going to run KERS this year, so it’s important to find time from other areas such as aerodynamics and traction.
Caterham F1 Team
It has been a very disappointing start to the 2012 season for Caterham, apart from Heikki Kovalainen’s 17th place on the grid in Bahrain. Mechanical problems have resulted in them being below Marussia in the standings which is a shame considering they have KERS on the CT-01 and the team’s aim before the start of the season was to regularly trouble the midfield runners.
Currently, Caterham are in a performance limbo between the slowest midfield runner and Marussia. Heikki and Vitaly have lonely races and hence, this test is very important to make KERS more advantageous by introducing big updates that will help them get closer to teams like Force India and Toro Rosso atleast during the races.
HRT have announced that they will not be attending the Mugello test as they don’t have significant updates to test on the car- those updates are expected at Barcelona. Apart from that, the team have shifted their base to Madrid and so they think it’s better to settle down properly at the new venue and carry on the work at the factory, instead of being at the track.
Barring Melbourne, it has been a good start to the season for the team considering that their car was ready just before the start of the Australian Grand Prix weekend. One high point uptil now was the outqualification of Marussia’s Timo Glock by Pedro de la Rosa in Bahrain. But the team have said that it will take significant time(some years) before they are able to fight in the midfield and so we should expect a similar performance from the team at Montmelo, as seen in the races since the team’s inception in 2010.