Sebastien Buemi had the misfortune to be the sole retiree in the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix
at Suzuka, after he ended up parking on lap 12 with one less wheel on his Toro Rosso
than race trim required.
"I came out of the pits and already at the first corner, I felt some vibration and I saw that the right front wheel was beginning to move," Buemi explained afterwards. "It had not been properly fitted at the pit stop, I'm not sure why. Then it came off at Turn 4. There was no way I could drive back to the pits, so my race was over."
Franz Tost, team principal of the Scuderia Toro Rosso
Formula One team, didn't have an immediate answer as to what had caused Buemi's problem. "We lost Sebastien early on in the race, when his right front wheel came off, for reasons which we are currently investigating, at the first pit stop. It is a great shame, as he had made a very good start, passing several cars to be lying eleventh, having made up four places from his grid position."
His team mate Jamie Alguersuari did complete the full race distance, but ended up a lacklustre 14th place.
"Jaime lost three positions on the opening lap and from then on, he was unable to make any significant progress," said Tost.
"I had more or less the same strategy as Perez, however he seemed to be one second a lap faster than me. I was unable to get past," explained Alguersuari. "I could not find the extra speed needed to overtake. On top of that, I was losing my downforce from following the cars in front.
"I can't remember the last time I found it so hard to overtake in a race. I always gave my maximum, but the performance was not there today," he summarised. "Now, I hope to fight back in Korea and try and battle with Sauber again for some points."
Tost was hopeful that an upturn in performance was on its way. "There were signs that some of the updates we introduced here could produce an improvement in car performance - and now we only have to wait a few days to see if we can exploit them better in Korea."