United States GP: Practice team notes – Toro Rosso

Pierre Gasly: “It was a positive day today. In the morning we struggled a bit to make the Intermediate tyres work properly, but then we made some changes for FP2 and they seem to work much better. This afternoon I felt very good with the car and I really enjoyed driving in the wet conditions, especially on this amazing track, which in the rain is super exciting! Even if we didn’t run much, I really liked the general feeling and the performance was there. Although not everybody went out, it’s always nice to see us so high on the time sheet. Considering the penalty we will receive, which will see us start from the back, we now have to focus on having the fastest possible car for Sunday’s race.”

Sean Gelael: “Every time I do a free practice session it’s wet, and today was no exception! It’s a bit tricky because it was weather for wets at the start, then it became more dry towards the end for intermediates. We went out a bit early so I could get comfortable with the car, but as I gained more confidence I lost time with the tyres as they started to grain at the front. Other than that the rest of the session was ok, there’s room for improvement and we have good data which will help me and the team.”

Brendon Hartley: “I missed today’s morning session but I got some wet running in the afternoon and everything went pretty smoothly. I had the same issues as they had this morning, but the other car looked really exciting in terms of performance with the new engine and new aero package. I had the old aero package today, but if Pierre’s performance is anything to go by, it looks quite promising for the future.”

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer): “It was great to welcome Sean back to the team for his FP1 duties, even if it wasn’t ideal for him as, for whatever reason, almost every FP1 he’s done with us it’s rained! We had a big test programme across the two cars; we planned to introduce a new aero package on Pierre’s car, but given the tricky conditions in the first session we elected not to run it. This meant we didn’t get to do the test items we planned, so we focussed more on understanding how to operate the car at its best in the Intermediate conditions. It was still wet heading into FP2, but we wanted to learn about the new aero package so we fitted that to Pierre’s car. Unfortunately, we couldn’t carry out the intended rake work because it’s tricky to judge an aero package in these conditions, but on face value it appears to be working well, which is really positive. We also tried to do a similar plan across the two cars to get some laps on the Wet and Intermediate tyre, so there’s a lot for us to go through tonight.”

Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director): “As confirmed this morning, Gasly’s car was fitted with a new PU for this event and, also as planned, we will change the PU in Hartley’s car tonight. This will involve grid penalties for both drivers but it’s the best strategy from a team perspective for the last few races. The rain meant we ran a completely different programme to a normal Friday and in FP2, the car balance was a good step forward from the morning session and overall the package seems well suited to this track. We look forward to running in better weather tomorrow.”

Check out our Friday gallery from COTA, here.