Toro Rosso Honda had a troubled-free Friday in Singapore, as Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat slotted their cars firmly in the midfield pack.
Gasly found himself tenth fastest in Free Practice 1 and over two seconds off the fastest time that was set by his former team-mate Max Verstappen.
The Frenchman would later that evening end up in the same position on the timing boards but was quicker than his current team-mate by less than a tenth.
“It was a positive first day for us in Singapore,” Gasly said. “We did a few tests but we have some more work to do tonight to improve.
“Finishing in the top ten in both sessions was a good start to the weekend and the pace looks decent. I think it will be really tight in Qualifying, so it will be important to put things together overnight to give ourselves the best chance tomorrow. I’m feeling good in the car, which is encouraging.”
Kvyat was equally encouraged by his performance on track, completing a combined total of fifty-eight laps throughout the three hours, three laps short of the full-race distance for the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
“We had a smooth Friday, we managed to finish the programme we set out for both of the sessions and we know there’s some work to do to improve our balance for tomorrow,” Kvyat shared.
“I’m happy with today and I’m sure tomorrow we will learn more to try and optimise the car a bit better. I think there is more time to be gained and we will do our best to find it.”
Chief Race Enginner Jonathan Eddolls‘ assessment of Toro Rosso’s problems on Friday was believed to be minimal, as he expects the signs of a strong qualifying session for the Italian team on Saturday.
“Singapore is a favourite venue for many working within the team,” Eddolls added.
“It’s such an amazing track in the centre of the city and quite unique, as we start in daytime and end in the night which means we stay on European time. One of the obstacles this presents us with, is that because FP1 and FP3 are at such different times of the day compared to Quali and the Race, the track temperatures change a lot compared to the first sessions of Friday and Saturday.
“Because of this, what you learn in those sessions isn’t relevant to the next one on the same day. Singapore is a track where there’s much to be gained from the drivers as it’s a street circuit, so we always aim to give them as many laps as possible with a car that’s consistent to build up their confidence.
“In FP1, we had some background aero tests which all went to plan. We ran a rake on Pierre’s installation lap, and once we gathered all the information we needed, it was then a case of focussing on the car balance and following the track evolution. Even though we were looking quite competitive in FP1, we made a few changes heading into FP2 to be ready for different track conditions.
“The first runs on the Base tyre were extremely competitive so that was looking positive. Then on the Option we experienced some understeer, so we didn’t extract the most out of that tyre. Now we have a good idea of what we need to do for tomorrow. I think there’s margin for more performance on the low fuel runs, but our high fuel runs performance seemed OK.”
Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe found the performance of Toro Rosso in the second session as useful information to build on. He is confident that Saturday’s running will provide as positive of an outcome as what Gasly and Kvyat showed on Friday.
“For the first day of practice for the Singapore GP, we had four cars in the top ten in FP1 and with both teams we were also competitive in the second session, which provides more useful information as conditions are similar to those for qualifying and the race,” Tanabe said positively.
“It’s a good start to the weekend and we hope we can continue like this for tomorrow’s qualifying.”