Toro Rosso knew the Marina Bay Circuit would prove a tough test for the STR8 – and so it proved – but rather than getting frustrated, Jean-Eric Vergne says they should be proud of a good team performance.
I think it’s fair to say that it was a tough weekend all around in Singapore. We went there hoping that we could achieve a good result but also knowing that it was never going to be the best circuit for our car and I think in the end what we got out of the weekend reflected that assumption.
On the outside it looks very much like a bad weekend. I had some problems in the race and of course Daniel crashed out, which is unusual for him, but I think that doesn’t tell the whole story. I’ll explain…
For both of us the race went wrong at the start. We both had some clutch behaviour problems and that compromised us badly. We both made poor starts and I went down to 15th place. Not easy to recover from there.
Then I had some issues on the car. I had a lot of understeer in the first few stints and we were adding a lot of front flap in each stop but for some reason we couldn’t dial it out. It made life a bit difficult and making the tyres last was very tricky.
We changed to a three-stop strategy to compensate and that worked well in the end. The last stint was really strong on the option supersoft tyre, but then I had some more problems and in the end we had to turn down the engine a bit, which meant I couldn’t take the fight to anyone any more and because I was then defending a lot, it finished my tyres.
OK, I agree, that looks like not a great weekend. But having said all that, I don’t actually feel too bad about how we performed in Singapore.
We always knew that Marina Bay was going to be a hard track for us. It’s not one we thought would particularly suit the car, but while that proved correct, we did show some good pace across the weekend. The team did a great job in setting up the car for the conditions and the performance was actually quite good. We were just undone by some technical issues.
Sure, the race was far from great but we have some positives to take to the next races in terms of having pace where we didn’t really expect to and in the way the team worked in Singapore, which I thought was very strong.
We’re now going to circuits that should suit the car better than Singapore. I’m confident we can be competitive in Korea, a circuit I like and which has characteristics that should work in our favour. I finished there in P8 last year and I made my debut there in 2011, running in Friday morning’s free practice, so it’s got a few good memories for me as well. Let’s hope we can add a few more next week.