26 July 2013
Hungarian Grand Prix: Toro Rosso anxious over poor practice
Toro Rosso ended up well down the timesheets after Friday's two free practice sessions, and the team is scrambling to understand why new upgrades aren't delivering the expected boost.
After Jean Eric Vergne ended Friday's three hours of practice in 16th place in the combined timesheets, over two seconds adrift of pace setter Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull Racing car, the Toro Rosso team is racing to find out just what's gone wrong for them at the Hungaroring.
"A lot of work will be needed to make us more competitive for the rest of the weekend," admitted Vergne after the end of the afternoon practice session. "Performance wise, we were definitely too slow today, so I expect we will need to make big changes on the car for tomorrow.
There were a lot of potential contributing factors that the team needs to urgently look at overnight, he explained.
"In the morning, I tried the car with the new updates the team has introduced this weekend," he revealed. "We had some doubts as to how it was working, so in the afternoon, we returned in some areas to our previous specification to do a check.
"I was overheating the rear tyres too much, which gave me a lot of understeer on the long runs and we were far from feeling comfortable today," he continued. "The tyres are obviously very important in these conditions and we need to find out how to get the best out of them, as I was not very happy with their performance on both the long and the short runs."
Vergne wasn't alone, as his team mate Daniel Ricciardo was fractionally slower than the Frenchman in the final standings at the end of Friday, 0.042s further back on his best lap of the afternoon.
"We were optimistic at the start of the morning, because we had quite a few new developments on the car. However, we were unable to get the best out of them on track," said the Australian, obviously not getting anything like the impressive weekend so far that he would dearly like if he's to impress the powers that be at Red Bull that he's worthy of succeeding compatriot Mark Webber in the senior team.
"We hope they will make the car quicker but it seems it is going to take a bit more study to get them producing their best results on track," he continued. "We need to do more work on the set-up, but we have been in this situation before, so I expect that after a long debrief and more work this evening, we will be able to make progress in time for tomorrow.
"On the tyre front, we are seeing the usual difference between option and prime and in terms of the developments introduced by Pirelli, they appear to be working fine, which is positive," he said more optimistically.
The team's head of vehicle performance, Laurent Mekies, admitted that it has been "a difficult day" for the team and the drivers.
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