Brendon Hartley believes his Toro Rosso team can target scoring points at the season-opening Australian GP after "exceeding expectations" in testing.
Switching to Honda power for 2018, fears of the Japanese manufacturer dragging the junior Red Bull outfit down were unfounded as the STR13 ran almost seamlessly throughout the eight days in Barcelona.
Further optimism came from teammate Pierre Gasly, as the Frenchman was seventh on the list of fastest lap times throughout pre-season and that means Toro Rosso is already ahead of where they hoped to be heading to Melbourne.
"Everyone is pumped up and positive," said Hartley, who will be at his defacto home race as it is the closest to his native New Zealand.
"The initial brief from Toro Rosso was that Melbourne might be tough but actually after these test days we’ve exceeded our own expectations and we are definitely in the fight for those points.
"It’s still hard to get a clear picture of where everyone lines up but we have to go to Melbourne with the right attitude and make the most of it and hopefully come out with my first F1 point," he concluded.
The rate of Honda's improvement, after three poor years with McLaren, was one of the big stories to come out of Spain, particularly as their smooth running juxtaposed the problems the British team were dealing with.
Their lack of problems even led some to wonder if Honda was using a power unit per day to achieve their reliability but technical director James Key revealed that was not the case.
“They really have only run one engine for the entirety of test two,” he claimed.
“It’s run pretty much faultlessly throughout, other than a minor issue towards the end of the test where we stopped the car as a precaution to have a look at the issue in more detail and not take any risks.
“Given we were close to the completion of our programme anyway, we felt it was better to spend some time on that, but otherwise everything with them has run faultlessly.”
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