Jun.30 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Amid the Red Bull-Renault debacle of 2015, the only winner appears to be the junior team Toro Rosso.

A report in Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claims the James Key-designed STR10 is perhaps among the three best cars on the grid this season.

“With a Mercedes engine we would be at the front,” technical boss Key is quoted as saying.

The potential of the car has been obvious on a few occasions so far in 2016, not least during rain-affected practice in Austria, where rookie drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz continued to make their mark on the sport.

Toro Rosso, however, is just eighth in the constructors’ standings, ahead only of the disastrous McLaren-Honda debut and struggling backmarkers Manor.

Poor reliability has badly marred the Faenza based team’s season so far.

In the area of technical innovation, however, Toro Rosso has impressed, having been at the forefront of the ‘short nose’ trend right from the beginning.

And the rear suspension layout seen in Austria is also novel, with correspondent Michael Schmidt revealing that Key successfully argued its legality with the FIA in a 21-page dossier.

So while the team shares Red Bull Racing’s handicap in the form of Renault power, the carping from the Italian-based camp has been kept to a minimum in 2016.

“You obviously work hard and support your partner,” said Key. “In a way it motivates you more because in the short term you have to compensate with the chassis a little bit while you’re waiting for the (engine) updates to come.”