Scuderia Toro Rosso Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls said the team’s strategy to not save any tyres for the second qualifying session means that the team have ‘more strategic opportunities’ for the race, giving them the upper hand.
Both Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley have grid penalties due to engine component changes, meaning that they would both start the Brazilian Grand Prix from the back of the grid regardless of qualifying performance. This led the team to save the tyres they would have used in the second qualifying session, and gives them more options during the race.
Whilst this strategy worked out for Gasly, who failed to make it through to the second session, it left Hartley, who did make it, with no tyres to set a time. Eddolls says that the session didn’t go to waste for the young driver though, as he was able to work on the more mundane aspects of driving ahead of his third race with the team.
“Moving into qualifying, because we knew we were taking penalties we really just focused on Q1 and we didn’t save any tyres for Q2,” said Eddolls. “Both drivers did a great job.
“Pierre was very unlucky as the cut off was so tight that he just missed out on progressing to Q2 by around half a tenth. Brendon did a fantastic job to get the car into Q2.
“Since we took the decision to not have any new tyres for Q2, we instead focussed on some procedural work for him – mainly starts practice, pit entry, pit exit. Obviously the work that we were able to do in FP3 puts us in a better position for the race, and also the fact that we’ve managed to save tyres means we can keep all of our options open to give us much more of a chance and more strategic opportunities tomorrow.”