Toro Rosso had a difficult qualifying session at Austin as both drivers struggled with their cars. In the end, Daniil Kvyat qualified 14th and Jean-Eric Vergne 15th, hoping for an improved car balance on race day.
Daniil Kvyat, STR9-03, 14th: “Today's Q2 was more promising, but at the end we couldn't do better than this. We just had no pace and now we have to understand why. We really didn’t have the speed and we’ve been struggling with the car, the tyres and the grip. In addition, this weekend and the next one in Brazil are compromised by the 10 grid positions penalty. We have to accept the truth, we had a poor Qualifying. Anyway we'll try to do our best, making the most out of the car. Yesterday's long runs worked quite well, so we'll see what we can achieve tomorrow. Hopefully we can find some extra speed and aim for a good race. During the Grand Prix anything can happen, so we'll keep on pushing as always.”
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR9-01, 15th: “Unfortunately today we had to change to an old specification engine, therefore we knew we couldn’t expect the best performance. In addition to this, not to drive in FP1 and having experienced problems this morning meant I did not have so much time available to set up the car properly. A lot of oversteer made it very difficult to drive today in qualifying. It’s a shame but let’s move forward, hoping to have a good race tomorrow.”
James Key, Technical Director: “We struggled a little bit today with getting the tyres to work over short runs, we had already started to see this in FP2 on Friday afternoon. The track conditions are changing quite significantly here with both hot and cold conditions over the last two days. We worked a lot during the night and we thought we were going in the right direction to deal with a hotter track condition for qualifying. That made it trickier in FP3 but it didn’t come together as we hoped this afternoon. To be fair, the drivers did everything they could, the car was really difficult to drive because of a considerable lack of grip from the tyres, so there are several issues we need to look at to try and understand where we have list performance. For Jev, he had a compromised weekend, with a lack of running and he had to jump into qualifying after a change of engine and without any running on Option tyres this morning. As for Daniil, he’s got a penalty for using a seventh engine that we will have to spread between here and the Brazil grid. It has been a frustrating day, but the long run pace on high fuel levels didn’t look bad yesterday afternoon. We have to pick ourselves up from a difficult day, concentrate on tomorrow and try to get the most out of the race.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 track support leader: “That certainly wasn’t our best qualifying session of the season, but there are some underlying issues that we now need to analyse. The performance we saw in yesterday’s practice sessions suggested we were contenders to make Q3, so 14th and 15th fastest times isn’t what we were expecting. Sure, we had to make a late change to Jean-Eric’s Power Unit after this morning’s practice session and he wasn’t able to finalise a qualifying set-up, but that doesn’t explain the performance drop-off both cars experienced in qualifying. We’ll look at the data this evening to work out whether it’s engine-related.”