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'Perfect' début for new Toro Rosso/Honda partnership

Brendon Hartley (NZL) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
© XPB 

Toro Rosso were delighted after a trouble-free first day of pre-season testing ahead of the 2018 season.

It's the first big test of the team's new partnership with Honda. The Japanese manufacturer endured a turbulent three years with McLaren until the end of last season, including a string of reliability issues.

But there were no such concerns on Monday, with the team having a trouble-free run at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

"It was a really positive day. We had no issues at all," reported Brendon Hartley after completing 93 laps, the second-best tally of the day. "Everything felt pretty good from out of the box

"[It] was a great start to the campaign with the new Toro Rosso-Honda," he added. "I'm really happy with how the day went.

"Balance-wise, we were pretty comfortable straight away. But I still think there's potential to unlock," he said. "I think we learnt a lot and set ourselves up nicely for the rest of the test.

"It was really, really positive, all things directed towards Honda. No complaints so far and we had a perfect day in terms of reliability.

"The driveability of the engine is one of the best I've driven in a Formula 1 car, so it was really positive in all aspects. Absolutely no complaints from me."

Technical director James Key was also delighted by the drama-free day in Spain.

"We covered a lot of laps with no major problems," he said. "We have worked well and proactively with our colleagues at Honda over the last 6 months, and we can be pleased by the encouraging start we have made."

Honda's F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe said that he was happy to finally get the new car out on track, and to turn the page once and for all on its unhappy spell with McLaren.

"I am pleased with the work completed and 93 laps is a respectable total," he confirmed.

"Although we have only been working with Toro Rosso for a relatively short period of time, the development has gone ahead according to plan thanks to both partners communicating very closely together.

"I think we are all working very well as a team now," he added. "I appreciate the hard efforts made by all the staff in Italy, UK and Japan."

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