Toro Rosso: A good day for us, during which we learned a lot

17 November, 2012

Nov.16 (Toro Rosso) Team and drivers report on the first day of the United States Grand Prix weekend, Round 19 of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Daniel Ricciardo (STR7-04):
First Practice Session Best lap: 1:41.825, pos. 12th, 28 laps
Second Practice Session Best lap: 1:40.435, pos. 15th, 30 laps
“The new track lived up to the expectations we had before coming here, although the lack of grip spoilt it a little bit. But as the track rubbers-in and cleans up, I’m sure it will get even better. The grip level did improve from morning to afternoon but I’d expected a bit more. In fact I reckon next year, we could find a completely different circuit, although by this Sunday I think it will be much more fun. The slippery conditions meant it was difficult to understand what our car was doing. We improved it from the first to the second session, but we need to keep on down doing that tomorrow. The tyres are taking a long time to warm up and that is one of the most complex aspects of the package that we must look at. It will definitely be an important factor tomorrow afternoon in qualifying.”

Jean-Eric Vergne (STR7-02):
First Practice Session Best lap: 1:41.833, pos. 13th, 29 laps
Second Practice Session Best lap: 1:40.516, pos. 16th, 32 laps
“I have to say this is a really nice track and I like it very much. It is very challenging with a lot of places where you can overtake, even without DRS I can see some corners where you can pass, which will be good for the show and it is also excellent purely from a driving point of view. There was not one corner where I felt it wasn’t interesting. Technically, it was quite a difficult day, because this morning there was no grip at all, but I’d say we maybe look a little bit better than at the previous grand prix. We saw some interesting things on the data today and I am sure we can have an okay day tomorrow.”

Laurent Mekies (Chief Engineer):
“The layout here is fantastic and you really appreciate seeing it for real, after previously only looking at the simulation. It’s been very enjoyable for everyone to tackle this new challenge for the first time today, even if grip level gave everyone a bit of a surprise to start with! It’s normal for a new track to have low grip, but this was beyond what we had expected, however by the end of the day, the situation had improved and we were able to carry out our normal programme to validate the car set-ups and configurations we had calculated before coming here. Both cars ran trouble free, apart from having to change the nose on Vergne’s car after Kovalainen made contact with him. Overall, it was a good day for us, during which we learned a lot. I think it is more difficult today than at any other time this season to draw a conclusion about the order down the pit lane, but I feel we have all the data we need to analyse tonight, in order to be stronger tomorrow.”

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