The Toro Rosso duo of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari feel that Japan will be a challenging race for the team as the STR5 appears better suited to the streets of Singapore than the figure-of-eight Suzuka layout.
The team found themselves 16th and 17th on the timesheets at the end of the second practice session, with Buemi ahead of Alguersuari.
Buemi pushed a little too hard on one occasion in this afternoon’s session, and is hoping that the team can find more pace from the car as the weekend progresses. “I had an impressive spin at a high speed corner, but apart from that there were no technical problems,” says the Swiss driver. “I managed to do quite a good lap time on the Option tyres and I feel I have a clear picture of what the car is doing. But we need to work hard now with the engineers to improve the car, although tomorrow will be a different picture if it rains. We do not appear to be as competitive as we were in Singapore and Monza and it is difficult to say exactly why. It is hard to tell how much we can improve, but the situation is still open for us to increase our performance level.”
Alguersuari thinks that the forecast rain might be their best hope of getting a good qualifying result tomorrow, and admitted to a couple of mistakes as he re-acquainted himself with Suzuka:
“This morning, I tested various new components which made the session more complicated than usual, as I found the car quite difficult to drive,” says the Spaniard. “I made a couple of mistakes and there were times when I found it hard to keep the car on track. This afternoon went much better, even if we lack a bit of speed compared to Singapore. We can analyse the data tonight and improve for tomorrow and I would be happy if it is wet for qualifying, as I think we can be more competitive in the rain than in the dry.”
Chief engineer Laurent Mekies says that the team spent much of the day experimenting with different set-ups, and knows that rain tomorrow could make life even more challenging. “It was a trouble-free day for us and we evaluated several different set-up options across both our cars,” he explaines. “However, we still have a lot of work to do tonight to try and improve our performance and to get the car as well adapted as possible to the layout of this track. Suzuka presents a real challenge for engineers as well as drivers, which makes it very enjoyable. Life will be further complicated by the fact the forecast is for a wet Qualifying and a dry race, so it seems we are set for a fun weekend!”