Neither Toro Rosso driver was completely happy with how Friday practice in Singapore progressed: Jaime Alguersuari did not feel comfortable with his car and had to stop early whilst his team carried out precautionary checks on the car; FP2 finished prematurely for Sebastien Buemi after he hit a wall.
The first practice session was cut from 90 minutes to just an hour after emergency repairs were needed to some kerbs. This clearly had an impact on all teams as they strived to complete their usual programmes in a shorter amount of time.
“As usual on the first day, the grip level from the track surface is very low and in general, I was not so happy with the car and I never felt that comfortable with it today,” said Alguersuari, who finished the day eighth fastest. “Because we did not run for the full amount of time, we still do not have a clear picture of the Soft tyre's behaviour on a long run and we have yet to see how much degradation will be a factor. I think the track was dirtier today than this time last year, which did not help, although the surface feels less bumpy, especially going into Turn 7 and apart from that the only change is the one they made to the kerbs this morning.
“We still have one more session to improve the car prior to qualifying, which will be a more important session than at other races this season, because overtaking on a street circuit is always so difficult. In the morning, I did not hit any walls, but I rode the kerbs very aggressively and the team called me in before the end of the session, to check over the car as a precaution.”
Despite Buemi’s altercation with the wall, he seemed to be much happier with his day than Alguersuari. He finished down in P16.
“The morning session was delayed as they modified the kerbs at some points on the circuit and so, at first we had to adapt to the new lines that were made possible because of the removal of the kerbs,” said the Swiss driver. “We managed a good number of laps in the first practice, which meant we were able to get a first impression of how the Soft tyres perform. Degradation seemed quite high, but this is normal here on the Friday.
“In the second session, I did two more runs on the harder tyres, but when I switched to the Supersoft, I was doing a hot lap when I made a small mistake exiting the last chicane and I touched the wall. My session therefore ended early, but I hope we will recover for Qualifying tomorrow. The car is not bad here and, as we saw in Monza, even if things do not go too well on Friday, we can still have a good race.”
Toro Rosso chief engineer Laurent Mekies said that the team are lacking some long run data after the various problems they encountered today, but is hoping to rectify matters in the final practice session on Saturday.
“A short day for us, partly because the morning session was delayed for everyone, then this afternoon, both cars stopped running before the end of the session: in Sebastien's case he hit the wall, removing the right front corner of the car, while with Jaime, our data showed us that he had hit a couple of kerbs very hard and, as a precaution, we brought him in early to check over the car,” he explained.
“Because of this, we did not get much long run data and we will have to take this into account and modify our Saturday morning programme accordingly, to make up for the time we have lost. Apart from that, we had a few new elements that we were evaluating across the two cars and tonight we will study the data to put together the best combination for tomorrow.”