Toro Rosso is confident that its new engine partner Honda has made big progress over the off-season.
Honda split from McLaren at the end of 2017 after a disastrous three-year collaboration. McLaren has now joined up with Renault, while Honda has begun a new association with Toro Rosso.
"I am convinced Honda has the capacity and the know-how to develop the engine to a level that we will be where we expect to be and this is how it is," predicted team boss Franz Tost.
"We are looking forward to the season,"
Tost was speaking at the official launch of the STR13. It took place in the pit lane at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ahead of the start of pre-season testing.
"I don’t see any problems, the power unit is working quite well," Tost reported.
"I see it as very, very positive," he continued. "Honda have made a lot of progress in the last months on the reliability side as well as the performance side.
"I must say we have a really fantastic working relationship with Honda. We had very busy months, as you can imagine, in November, December, January and now February.
“It was a completely new start for Toro Rosso, as you can imagine. We’re kind of a works team.
"We are the only team that is working with Honda and this has opened a lot of possibilities," he explained. "Especially on the technical side with the engine installation and so on.
"For Toro Rosso it’s a big advantage to work together with such a big company as Honda is."
Asked what he was hoping for in 2018, Tost preferred to remain guarded with his prediction at this early point in the year.
“Difficult to say at this stage. I said once in an interview that the first three places are gone this year because there is Red Bull, Mercedes and so on.
"But from fourth place on though there’s a lot to fight for between Force India, Williams - hopefully Toro Rosso, McLaren, Renault and so on.
“I have to get a clearer picture of our performance here and the first two or three races," he pointed out.
"But the target for Toro Rosso is to be in front of the midfield, and this is around fifth place.”