'Drastic measures' fail to pay off for Toro Rosso
14 April 2012 – Oddly, seven of the 12 grid rows are occupied by pairs of team-mates in China. One of those is the ninth row, filled by the Toro Rossos of 17th and 18th placed Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne – both unhappy after Saturday’s session.
Ricciardo blames the performance on a selection of wild changes which he claimed forced him to drive differently. If improvements don’t come in Bahrain next weekend, the Australian suggests reverting to a previous setup.
“P17 is not going to put a smile on my face, as I had expected to do better today,” Ricciardo explains. “I drove as hard as I could, but that did not produce a good enough lap time. With the package we had, I don’t think I could have got much more out of it. Hopefully tomorrow will be better and then we must look at trying to improve our qualifying performance for the next race.
“We are not where we want to be, especially as before the weekend we had expected to be closer to the top ten,” he admitted. “At the moment we don’t have the answers to what happened. This weekend, we had a few small updates but we also tried a few drastic measures in a way that required me to drive differently, so either we can make it work in Bahrain or we could go back to something we understand a bit better.”
For newcomer Vergne, the results marks his second Q1 elimination in as many races, as the Frenchman was knocked out at the first hurdle.
“I am not feeling good after that,” he said bluntly. “I’m not really sure what happened this afternoon, but we lacked speed. My lap was not exceptional, but nor was it bad, so we have to try and understand why it was so slow. All we can do is try and have a good afternoon tomorrow and then improve the car for the coming races, because what happened this afternoon was simply bizarre.”
Toro Rosso has scored in both races so far, as Ricciardo finished ninth at home in Australia before Vergne came home eighth in Malaysia.