Jean Eric Vergne believes that it is still too early in the season to judge 2013′s running order.
The Toro Rosso racer finished in tenth place in Malaysia but feels that tricky conditions left the picture skewed.
“A lot of people were saying Malaysia, being the first purpose-built track of the year would give an indication of the pecking order but, honestly, with the rain and the heat and everything I still think it’s way too early to tell,” he said.
“If it’s warm in China we might get a clearer picture, but last year it was freezing cold, so who knows.”
Vergne nonetheless feels confident regarding the pace and potential of the STR8.
“What I do think, though, is that the pace of the car is encouraging. I had the fourth fastest time in Malaysia. Yes, it was set on fresh options and light tanks but it’s the same for everyone at that stage, so the performance is definitely in the car.”
“I think we don’t necessarily maximise the performance on Fridays or in qualifying, so that’s where the improvements need to come. However, the race pace is good and that’s encouraging as we go forwards.”