Toro Rosso leave Australia with an optimistic feeling about its car, despite a somewhat disappointing result at the Grand Prix. Jean-Eric Vergne drove well but could not get into the points while Daniel Ricciardo struggled to find grip before retiring with an exhaust issue.
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR8-03, 12th:
“It was a hot start, I was pushed to the outside and I ended up going through a gravel trap at one point. After that, the first stint on the Option was only average, but the last two sections on the Prime tyre were very good and competitive and I was even in the points for a couple of corners right at the end, but as I passed Grosjean I flat-spotted my two front tyres and overshot my braking point when I tried to chase Button. Overall, I think the weekend showed we have a good car with which we ought to be able to go hunting for points in every race. So I’m disappointed at not scoring here, but my hopes for the coming races are now higher than when we first started this weekend. I think that fundamentally, we have a good car.”
Daniel Ricciardo, STR8-01, DNF:
“In the end I had to retire with a problem linked to the exhaust. I reported back to the pit wall that I could hear strange noises and I tried to fix it by changing a few functions, but it was not to be. At the start of the race, I struggled to find grip and it felt like I was driving on ice, as it took a very long time to warm up the tyres. But afterwards, after about ten laps, I got up to speed and my lap times were not too bad, but by then I had lost too much time in the early stages. I think we have more homework to do when it comes to the tyres. Not the ending I wanted for the first Grand Prix of the season, especially here in my home race.”
Franz Tost, Team principal: “To look at the positive aspects of this opening Grand Prix first, our car proved to be very competitive in the wet, both our drivers performed well from Friday onwards and, by Sunday afternoon, we had also managed to improve the pace of the STR8 in the dry. However, on the negative side, we missed an opportunity to qualify better this morning, when we did not choose the best tyre strategy and this afternoon, Daniel struggled to find any grip in the early stages and was then forced to retire with a reliability problem. From 13th on the grid, Jean-Eric drove hard to try and get in the points, but was unable to do so. This performance does not reflect our true potential and we must do better, starting in a few days’ time in Sepang.”