Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari both made it through to the top-ten shootout today in qualifying for Sunday's inaugural Indian Grand Prix, proof Toro Rosso is making good progress, according to chief engineer Laurent Mekies.
“A great performance from the drivers and the team today means we have both cars in the top ten on the grid for the first time since China,” he said. “It has been a complicated task managing the situation of having massive track improvement from one session to the next, combined with the fact this is a new circuit for all of us.
“Our car is definitely getting faster as we approach the end of the season though. We were quite happy with the progress we saw in Korea and today's performance is a confirmation that we are working in the right direction. This is good for everyone back at the factory and in the wind tunnel who are pushing hard on the development of the car.
“Of course, there are no points for qualifying and although today's result puts us in a strong position for the race, there are question marks over what the track conditions will be like and how much tyre degradation we will see. I expect it will be an exciting race for the spectators, with various different strategies coming into play and hopefully we can make the most of our opportunities and secure a good result, on our first visit to this fantastic track.”
Buemi and Alguersuari meanwhile were both delighted to secure top-ten grid positions, even if the team did opt not to run in Q3.
“I am very happy for the team as they did a fantastic job and I congratulate them and thank them for it,” said Buemi, who will line up ninth. “Having both cars in Q3 is amazing.
“Now, I hope we can have a good race tomorrow, because there are no points for what we did today. The first race at this circuit is bound to be an interesting experience. It was teamwork that delivered today's result, with everyone giving their maximum since we arrived here in India.”
“I am very happy,” Alguersuari continued, “especially for the team as we are both in good positions and Sebastien was really fast, right from yesterday, when I had some problems. Today he drove a brilliant lap. We solved my problems overnight so that I could also be competitive today.
“Tomorrow, we have a good chance of doing well starting from these positions and it could be useful in terms of the championship as our main rivals, the Saubers, are starting behind us. Strategy will be important and if we do everything right then maybe we can bring home a big points score.
“The increase in performance at this point of the season is down to the great job the whole company has done in developing the car. I am hoping for a top eight finish tomorrow.”