Toro Rosso report from day one of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Round 13 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Spa-Francorchamps.
- First Practice Session Best lap: 1:47.636, pos. 17th, 20 laps
- Second Practice Session Best lap: 1:46.214, pos. 14th, 24 laps
“It’s great to be back in the car after the summer break and Spa is the perfect track to return to racing as well. With quite a few other drivers taking grid penalties, the race should be quite interesting as some drivers will be out of position. We’ll see how tomorrow goes. This kind of track can either be quite good or quite poor and at the moment, it’s quite poor for us. Today our car wasn’t suited to this track as well as it is to some others. We will see what we can find for tomorrow, but I’m not too concerned.
- First Practice Session Best lap: 1:47.968, pos. 18th, 26 laps
- Second Practice Session Best lap: 1:46.374, pos. 17th, 28 laps
“It was a busy day with the team, trying to get used to the car and learn all of the new procedures and the behaviour of the car. It was the first time working with this group of engineers, so there were a lot of things to get done today.
“We had a good plan and lap after lap I felt I was getting used to the car, so I think we are progressing. It’s been a bit tricky in terms of pace for us, so we need to work and find out which direction to take for tomorrow to be more competitive. Some drivers will have penalties this weekend, so we need to make sure we have a good race car for Sunday.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer: “It’s good to be back on track after the summer break and we couldn’t pick a better place than a sunny Spa, it’s a fantastic track and the weather conditions are great for running.
“We’re pleased to be working with Pierre again, we worked closely with him last year and he has tremendous speed, so we’re looking forward to maximising his performance in the second half of the season. Obviously, the last time he drove for us it was a different car than the one he drove today, so the main focus for him was to get him comfortable and acclimatised with the seat fit characteristics and the balance of the STR14.
“This meant it was less performance running and more building up the laps, so he could get used to the setup. Now I think we have a good idea of the requirements he needs from the car. As for Dany, we will take a new PU for him, Honda’s Spec 4, and it will be interesting to see the step in performance it brings, which should be positive around here. Given he will take a PU related penalty, Dany’s main priority today was on race pace.
“Coming here we knew that a few of the corners on this track wouldn’t necessarily suit some of the handling characteristics of our car, so another big focus was carrying out multiple setup changes on both the aero and mechanical side, to try and minimise these handling issues.
“We didn’t show the best performance in FP1, so we made quite a few changes to the car for FP2, which improved the performance, although we’ve finished the day still not quite where we expected to be.
“We know where the limitations are, so we just need to come up with some changes for the car to try and improve those areas without making the car weaker in the others.”