A spin for Jaime Alguersuari in Practice 1 at Abu Dhabi today didn’t prevent him from setting a faster time than teammate Sebastien Buemi as they pair went on to finish Friday seventeenth and eighteenth on the timesheets.
Alguersuari stalled his Toro Rosso while trying to find the limits of the Yas Marina circuit, but fortunately kept his STR05 out of the barriers. The Spaniard says that he is ready for Round 19 of his first full season in the sport. “I am glad to be here for the last race of the season,” he said. “I'm feeling strong mentally and physically and it seems we are doing quite a good job on track, with reasonably competitive lap times and tyre degradation does not seem to be too big a problem for us here. There is more to come tomorrow, as the car set-up is not yet 100% right, but I feel we can sort that out.
“Towards the end, I pushed too hard, spun and the engine stalled. My tyres were a bit old by then, but I was still attacking, putting the power down too early, so I lost the rear end. I was trying to find the limit and see if I could brake on the kerb on the outside of the corner – I now understand that I can't! Fortunately, I did not hit anything so the car is fine.
“I am happy with the balance of the car on the Prime tyre, because we did a short run on used Primes and it looked quite competitive. Going from daylight to floodlights is no problem, because we experienced it last year and I just removed a dark tear-off visor when it got dark.”
Buemi also had a spin of his own, but was able to continue. He was happy with the day, despite being out-paced by his less-experienced teammate. “And so we come to the final Friday of the season,” began Buemi’s narrative summary of the day’s events. “The track here is still quite a novelty as we have only been here once before and today the surface was rather green.
“I had a lot of degradation on the tyres this morning, but we felt this would be the situation from what we saw here last year. We expected a big improvement and indeed that was the case, but I was unable to get the most out of the soft tyres because I spun into Turn 16 on a quick lap.
“Overall, we have done a good day's work, trying various different set-ups which have shown us which direction to go in tomorrow to try and improve and there was no problem going from daylight to night in terms of visibility.”
Laurent Mekies revealed that the unexpected rain that fell on the desert circuit this morning did upset schedules slightly. The Toro Rosso Chief Engineer also notes that the Bridgestone tyres also behave differently here at this track:
“We were expecting a standard Friday programme, but this morning's rain took us by surprise and it meant that everyone only really started running until a bit later.
“From then on, it was a standard session, apart from losing a bit of track time with Jaime, when he spun off the track during his quick run on option tyres. Fortunately there was no damage, but unfortunately the car stalled so he was unable to continue.
“We had no reliability issues throughout the day, going through quite a few test items so we have a sufficient amount of data. On the tyre front, the situation is not black and white, which will make the next two days interesting. Last year, was very unusual with everyone finding the Prime to be behaving better than the Option.”