Jody Egginton feels Brendon Hartley can be proud with how he performed during his first Grand Prix, particularly having been thrown into the deep end at the Circuit of The Americas without any prior experience of the STR12 and not having raced single seater since 2012.
Egginton, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Scuderia Toro Rosso, said the New Zealander showed consistency throughout his debut weekend and showed a lot of promise in the United States as he learned as much as he could about racing in Formula 1.
“In terms of the race itself, the strategies for both cars panned out pretty much as predicted,” said Egginton. “We expected some traffic for Brendon and, as such, we were ready to move stop laps to get him into free air if possible.
“However, after doing this to avoid a time loss with [Marcus] Ericsson, we were a little bit more restricted in what we could do to jump [Lance] Stroll, so we were not able to do so.
“Once this said, Brendon should be pleased with his race, as he has performed consistently and delivered on everything we asked of him and for sure he picked up further useful experience and understanding of our car… well done to him!”
Daniil Kvyat’s return to the team, albeit just for one race weekend following the news that Pierre Gasly will partner Hartley in the Mexican Grand Prix this weekend, brought the team a point, with Egginton revealing that the Russian lost the possibility of a better result thanks to a potential battery issue, which left him easy prey to Felipe Massa over the closing laps.
“Daniil’s race was spent in a close battle with Massa, [Carlos] Sainz and both Force India’s,” said Egginton. “He was running ninth until the last laps, when Massa, on fresher tyres, closed the gap.
“He then pushed his PU once in the DRS zone and made the pass, which unfortunately we were not able to react to due, in part, to a potential battery issue, which meant we were limited with energy deployment.”
Despite taking a point away from the Circuit of The Americas, Toro Rosso lost ground to both Williams Martini Racing and the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in the Constructors’ Championship, thanks to Massa’s ninth place and Carlos Sainz Jr.’s seventh place in his first race for Renault since switching from Toro Rosso!
“Today’s race was one of mixed emotions: on the positive side, we have scored a point with Daniil and Brendon has had a solid debut Grand Prix,” said Egginton. “On the flip side, unfortunately both Williams and Renault have taken points off us in the Constructors Championship.
“The midfield fight remains tight. It’s all still to play for and we will continue to do all we can to take the fight to the other midfield teams in the remaining races in order to fulfil our season targets.”