Toro Rosso raise eyebrows and questions

Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:28pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

JEREZ, Spain (Reuters) - Toro Rosso's new Formula One car sent a gasp of astonishment, and a flurry of ribald comments, rippling through social media after it was unveiled on the eve of the first pre-season test on Monday.

Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne lifted a red sheet off the first new car to be seen 'in the flesh', after other teams had done their presentations online, to reveal its full glory.

The nose - emerging long, thin and gently drooping like a half-inflated balloon from a fuller body - drew immediate attention.

"It's important that it's fast," said Kvyat, who has come into Formula One after winning the GP3 junior series, when asked of his impression. "If it's fast I don't really care (what it looks like).

"What I see from the cockpit when I'm driving is the steering wheel, the mirrors and the road."

If some initial reaction to the STR9 was colorful, with plenty of phallic references, technical director James Key preferred to direct attention towards other areas and other cars.

"It's very easy to get distracted by these noses but we need to start looking at the rest of the car and see what other people have done," he suggested, hinting also at a future controversy waiting to explode.

Ten of the 11 teams are in Jerez for Formula One's first pre-season test but it is Lotus, the absentees, who have triggered most debate by showing a car with a split nose.   Continued...