The Toro Rosso duo of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari spent much of Friday practice in Montreal learning their way around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, as they completed their first practice sessions in Canada.
“I have never driven here before and it takes some time to learn the track, dealing with the lack of grip from the surface and being careful of the walls that are so close to you,” said Buemi, explaining the difficulties faced by all the Canada debutants. “Therefore, it is hard to find the limit as the car is moving around a lot.
“You need to know the circuit really well before you can push hard. At least we had a clean day with no technical issues which is important for the rest of the weekend. Now, having learned my way round, I can expect a better day tomorrow, although we don't seem very competitive at the moment.”
Buemi could only manage 17th fastest in the afternoon session today, one place ahead of his teammate Alguersuari.
“[It was] another new track for me and it is a difficult one to learn because there was very little grip today and the walls are very close,” said Alguersuari, echoing the challenges stated by his teammate.
“I need to do more laps and tomorrow I will be in a position to push harder, with what I have learned so far. I think the lap times will come and the important thing now is to stay calm,” added the Spaniard. “We have seen quite a bit of degradation, which will be a factor in the race.
“For qualifying, I think we have the potential to do well in Q2. In terms of brakes, which are important here, it was quite good and I know we can learn a bit more now by studying the data regarding the braking points and the retardation rates on the pedal. As long as it doesn't rain tomorrow, I expect to improve a lot before Sunday.”
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso Chief Engineer, explained the team’s approach to Friday in Canada: “We ran a usual Friday programme, completing everything on the job list, with much of the focus on getting used to the low level of downforce and to compare the two types of tyre compound.
“I think we are heading into a very interesting weekend, because the track seems to be harder on the tyres than we had initially expected, so we have seen everyone in the field having quite high tyre degradation, which should make for a good race.
“We also evaluated different levels of downforce. Everything went smoothly and now we must work on improving the car balance for tomorrow.”