With only the two Sauber cars behind them in Free Practice One, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls was surprisingly upbeat on the opening day of the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
“We came here with some new set-up ideas to try on the car, looking to maximize the potential from the aero package we introduced at the last event.” said Eddolls. “We managed to get some good testing across the two cars in this morning’s Free Practice one, both aero and mechanical, which was very positive.”
A total of 32 laps were completed by Carlos Sainz Jr. and Pierre Gasly in the opening session at Suzuka which saw a red flag when Sainz crashed out of the session after spinning off of a kerb.
“Unfortunately, Carlos [Sainz Jr.] made a small mistake and crashed, but the mechanics did a fantastic job in turning the car around and getting it out in the afternoon for an installation lap. We gathered good data in the morning that we’d planned to develop further into Free Practice two but, unfortunately, with the weather conditions, we didn’t get to trial those.
“We’ll now have to spend a bit of time tonight trying to understand exactly what we’re confident to take into Free Practice three, because we don’t want to spend the whole of that session learning about the car – that’s for qualifying performance for Pierre.
Before Sainz’s session was cut short it was revealed that the Spaniard would have to take a grid penalty of twenty places after changing engines, this changed the focus of the team ahead of the second day.
“As for Carlos’ car, the situation is slightly different because of his engine penalty, so we’ll have a different focus for tomorrow, more based around race performance.