Toro Rosso had a very disappointing race at Abu Dhabi and saw both its drivers finish nowhere near the points scoring positions that the team hoped for after qualifying.
Daniel Ricciardo, STR8-01, 16th: “This was not at all the race I was hoping for. In this sport, if the start doesn’t go well, it’s hard to recover, so I want to look at the data to understand what happened. The car didn’t get off the line well and then, at Turn 1 there was a bit of chaos as I dropped back into the group behind me. I had to run wide to avoid some accidents and from then on, my race was pretty much over. At the moment, our pace is not sufficient to fight back into the top ten if something like this happens. We must see what we can do to have better starts, because when we get good ones, we have generally gone on to score points.
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR8-04, 17th: “This is a very disappointing result. To sum it up, going for a one stop strategy was the right decision, but we made the change from Soft to Medium a little bit too early, so there was no life in the tyres towards the end, just as all that group of cars came up behind me. The original plan was for a two stop, but looking at how the race was developing, we decided to take this gamble, but it didn’t pay off. I tried all I could to keep the tyres alive, but it was not enough. A shame, as I was in the points for most of the race, especially as the car felt good and I was running at a strong pace. It seems that luck is just not on my side this season, as it’s not the first time I’ve been having a good race until circumstances have worked against me. The incident with Alonso? For a while now, if a driver puts a wheel outside the track when overtaking he gets a penalty and he had four wheels outside the line. In any case, he would have passed me down the next straight as I was struggling with my tyres by then.”
Franz Tost, Team principal: “A very frustrating evening given our aspirations after a promising Saturday. We were ready to be flexible with strategy, between a one and a two stop, dependent on tyre degradation and track improvement over the course of the race. In Jev’s case, he got a good start and was lasting well on new Options and our original plan was a two stop. We brought him in on lap 17 to switch to the Medium compound and for a long time it looked as though his pace was good enough to go all the way to the end. Then with around 8 laps to go the tyres dropped off very quickly. We had a long queue of cars behind us who took advantage of this. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off, but in the circumstances, Jev actually drove a very good race. As for Daniel, his race was compromised right from the start as he was slow off the line for reasons we must now look into and then he lost more places on the opening lap. Finding himself in traffic on used Options, we decided to bring him in and run a two stop, fitting new Primes, but he was unable to move up through the field. Very disappointing, at a race where we particularly wanted to do well.”